Hancock, Giellis rake in massive campaign hauls as Denver runoff draws closer

A local developer and major Giellis supporter donated $15,000 to former mayoral candiate Calderón.
3 min. read
Mayor Michael Hancock holds a rally for his reelection campaign, May 14, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Incumbent Michael Hancock's campaign raised more than $640,000 -- most of it following the May 7 election -- in the latest campaign reporting period, easily outraising challenger Jamie Giellis ahead of next week's runoff election.

Campaign finance records show Giellis raised $208,493.56 in the latest reporting period between May 2 and May 30. During the same span, Hancock raised $648,818.10, an amount approaching Giellis's fundraising total for her entire campaign ($714,367.96).

Mayoral candidate Jamie Giellis holds a press conference at her campaign headquarters in Overland, May 21, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Hancock, the first incumbent mayoral candidate to face a runoff since 1995, has raised $2.7 million over the course of the election cycle, including thousands of dollars from developers. Hancock also received money from at least one high-profile local: former governor and current presidential candidate John Hickenlooper donated $3,000 during the latest reporting period and his wife, Robin, donated $1,000.

Hancock had $204,371.23 cash-on-hand at the end of this latest reporting period. Giellis had $85,643.66.

April Valdez Villa, a spokesperson for Hancock's campaign, said in a statement they are glad to have "such enthusiastic support in this runoff."

Giellis's campaign on Friday said in a statement that people want a change and they believe the fundraising total reflecting this. They called out the source of some Hancock's donations.

"Our opponent continues to raise money from developers and insiders and has outspent us 5 to 1," the statement from Giellis campaign read. "Despite the negative attacks on Jamie Giellis through TV, mail and text, we are confident Denver voters see through the desperation of the Hancock campaign and will vote for a change in leadership on June 4th."

Former-candidate-turned-Giellis-supporter Lisa Calderón is still receiving donations.

Specifically, she received five maximum donations totaling $15,000 from local developer and Giellis mega-donor Kyle Zeppelin, according to campaign finance records.

Mayoral candidate Lisa Calderón addresses supporters at her election night watch party, May 7, 2019. (Esteban L. Hernandez/Denverite)

Calderón and fellow former mayoral candidate Penfield Tate both backed Giellis following their loss in the May 7 election, joining a so-called "unity ticket" that seems to be equal parts pro-Giellis and anti-Hancock. Calderón has previously been noncommittal about whether they would take a job in a potential Giellis administration.

In a statement Friday, Calderón said that after the May 7, her campaign asked community members to help cover costs for voter outreach through emails and social media. She said she was "very grateful at the outpouring of support."

"We appreciate the donations from all of our contributors, particularly from individuals who made up the majority of our donors," Calderón said."Even though campaign-finance reform came too late for my race, I am glad that future grassroot candidates will not be at such a severe fundraising disadvantage when challenging an incumbent."

Zeppelin did not respond to a call and text requesting comment for this story.

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