Lisa Calderón and Penfield Tate are now friends, not foes, of Jamie Giellis and her campaign to be Denver’s mayor

Hancock touts his own endorsements, including supporters who once favored Calderón and Tate.
3 min. read
Mayoral candidates Lisa Calderón, Penfield Tate and Jamie Giellis attend a housing forum held by GoodCinema at Alamo Drafthouse Sloans Lake, April 16, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Two former opponents of Jamie Giellis now support her run to become mayor of Denver.

Lisa Calderón and Penfield Tate not only endorsed the neighborhood development consultant, but have agreed to work with Giellis's campaign in some capacity, according to a media release sent by the Giellis campaign Monday.

The press statement refers to the arrangement as a "unity ticket." Calderón and Tate, who lost the May 7 general election that triggered a runoff between Giellis and Mayor Michael Hancock, will hold "events and conversations city-wide" to "continue the conversation for badly needed positive change."

Campaign spokeswoman Meghan Dougherty would not say precisely what a unity ticket entails, but said the arrangement is "more than an endorsement." She would not comment on how the candidates would reconcile their differences.

Neither Calderón nor Tate saw eye to eye with Giellis during the campaign. Calderón often criticized Giellis for her role in transforming the River North section of Five Points into the RiNo Art District, which she said increased the cost of living for artists and other locals.

Giellis campaigned on reining in development, but her former role as the RiNo Art District director did not exactly square with Tate's vision of letting residents control development.

Still, the politicians will unite in an attempt to thwart a third term for Hancock. They combined for about 58 percent of the vote in the general election.

"I do not make this decision lightly," Calderón said in a statement. "I believe our unified platform and leadership coalition will bring justice and equity to public safety, housing and homelessness, human services and community partnerships.

"Endorsing Jamie Giellis was the most appropriate path for me," Tate said. "United, we can address the need for accessible, ethical and transparent leadership."

Among other things, the trio agrees on repealing the urban camping ban, revising zoning processes to include more public input, reforming the Office of Economic Development to increase the number of minority- and women-owned businesses, and reforming the contract process for public projects, according to the Giellis campaign.

If the above tweet is any indication, it's unclear how voters will act on the endorsements. Miranda Doran-Meyers, a 29-year-old Cheesman Park local, voted for Calderón. She was already leaning toward Giellis but the endorsement solidified her vote.

"I wasn't very excited about voting for Hancock," she said. "I kind of haven't forgiven him for the sexual harassment thing, but I also don't think I disliked Jamie Giellis as much as some of my friends or other people."

Meanwhile, the Hancock reelection campaign sent out a press release of its own Monday touting a "diverse group" of "prominent community leaders," some of which have switched teams to endorse him.

"They include Tate supporters Becky Brooks, C.L. Harmer, Hon. Rollie and Josie Heath, Collon Kennedy, Daniel E. Muse, Linda Shoemaker and Bill Thiebaut, as well as Calderón supporters Juanita Chacon and Helen Thorpe," the statement says.

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