Denver held another election, and this time, we picked the next mayor.
The mayor’s race, the clerk and recorder race and five City Council races all went to runoffs, and before the 10 p.m. results could come in Tuesday, Michael Hancock had declared victory and Jamie Giellis had conceded.
Initiative 302 — the one about voting on Olympics funding — was done from the start. Voters gave it overwhelming approval.
The District 5 race was over by 8:30 p.m., with challenger Amanda Sawyer defeating incumbent Mary Beth Susman. In the last 32 years, a challenger has only beaten an incumbent for City Council twice.
Meanwhile, incumbents in District 9 and District 10 were in tight races all night. At 11:30 p.m., they were both behind their challengers. The clerk and recorder race finished the night undecided, too.
It’s not over yet. We’re still watching, and reporting below.
Need a refresher on the ballot? Here you go.
We’re down to Michael Hancock and Jamie Giellis. Hancock is fighting it out for a possible third term and Giellis is trying to become the first woman to serve as mayor of Denver.
In May, Giellis got 24 percent of the vote behind Hancock’s 38. Since then, things have gotten intense.
- Former contenders Lisa Calderón and Penfield Tate threw their support behind Giellis — not just with endorsements, but with a “unity ticket.”
- Hancock still got the endorsements of former mayors John Hickenlooper and Wellington Webb. They stood with him in a campaign rally the same day as Giellis and her unity ticket held a runoff campaign rally.
- Everyone wondered whether the unity ticket was actually pro-Giellis or more anti-Hancock?”
- The conversation turned away from the policy and toward the personal.
Hancock declared victory and Jamie Giellis conceded. Hancock secures a third and final term as mayor of Denver.
Michael Hancock: 56.32 percent
Jamie Giellis: 43.68 percent
⏳Clerk and recorder
The office oversees elections, issues marriage licenses and other records, and serves as a public trustee for the city.
Paul López and the two candidates left standing “Peg” Margaret Perl — the former is the current District 3 councilman, the latter is an attorney who worked in political and campaign finance consulting and in the U.S. House Ethics Committee
Paul López: 50.11 percent
Peg Perl: 49.89 percent
Where: Chaffee Park, Berkeley, Highland, Jefferson Park, Regis, Sloan’s Lake, Sunnyside and West Highland, as well as portions of West Colfax
Still standing in the race to replace Rafael Espinoza (who decided not to run again): Denver Fire Department legislative liaison and outreach program coordinator Amanda Sandoval and Denver Fire Department Lieutenant Michael Somma.
On the first go-around, Sandoval received 31 percent of the vote and Somma got 16 percent.
Michael Somma has conceded. Amanda Sandoval will be the next representative for District 1.
Amanda Sandoval: 66.6 percent
Michael Somma: 33.4 percent
Where: Barnum, Barnum West, Lincoln Park, Mar Lee, Sun Valley, Villa Park and Westwood
Community Organizer Veronica Barela and Deputy Director of the Agency for Human Rights & Community Partnerships and Director of the Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs Jamie Torres are the two still standing in the race to fill Paul López’s seat. (López is running for clerk and recorder.)
In May, Torres got 40 percent of the vote and Barela got 36 percent.
As of 9:50 p.m., Jamie Torres had not declared victory and Veronica Berla had not conceded.
Veronica Barela: 42.65 percent
Jamie Torres: 57.35 percent
Where: East Colfax, Hale, Montclair, Hilltop, Lowry, Crestmoor Park and Washington-Virginia Vale.
Mary Beth Susman is the only City Council incumbent who was beaten by a challenger in May — though neither candidate got enough votes to avoid a runoff. Amanda Sawyer earned 40 percent and Susman earned 35 percent.
Mary Beth Susman conceded to Amanda Sawyer at 8:30 p.m. Sawyer will be the next representative for District 5.
Amanda Sawyer: 58.15 percent
Mary Beth Susman (incumbent): 41.85 percent
Where: Globeville, Elyria-Swansea, Five Points, Cole, Clayton, Whittier, Curtis Park, City Park and City Park West
This incumbent vs. challenger battle has been City Council’s most intense in this election. In late May, a family friend and supporter of incumbent Albus Brooks said she found racist fliers on cars depicting the councilman as a monkey. The badly made flier included a logo for Candi CdeBaca’s campaign, but she strongly denounced it.
In the May election, Brooks earned 44 percent while CdeBaca earned 43 percent.
Albus Brooks has conceded. Candi CdeBaca wins District 9 and is only the fourth challenger to beat and incumbent in a City Council race in 32 years.
Albus Brooks (incumbent): 47.56 percent
Candi CdeBaca: 52.44 percent
Where: Capitol Hill, North Capitol Hill, Alamo Placita, Cheesman Park, Cherry Creek, Congress Park, Country Club and Belcaro
Incumbent Wayne New has held the seat for four years. Hinds gave him a run for it in the May election, bringing in 30 percent of the vote behind New’s 39.
Chris Hinds: 53.41 percent
Wayne New (incumbent): 46.59 percent
✅ Initiative 302
The Let Denver Vote Initiative would let Denver vote on whether the city can spend money to lure and host the Games.
The vote would get triggered if and when politicians decide they want to spend public money or offer incentives to bring the Olympics to Colorado.
Yes/for: 79.26 percent
No/against: 20.74 percent
What we’re seeing, hearing and learning
👋🏼 10:35: Thanks for watching the election with us, Denver. Have a good night. We’ll see you tomorrow with more results. — AD (@AshleyDean)
📊 10:33 p.m.: Unsurprisingly, the 11:30 results show little change. But even a little change can be big for some of these still-tight races, including District 9, District 10 and clerk and recorder. The incumbents in District 9 and District 10 both fell a little further behind.
Those races will have to hold until tomorrow for final results or for someone to concede. — AD (@AshleyDean)
🗣 “It is statistically improbable, I don’t want to say impossible, but improbable that this is anything other than an upset,” Chris Hinds said as the clock neared 11 p.m. “Democrats wait until the last minute to vote.”
Andrew Romanoff, Alec Garnett, Joe Salazar, Dave Young, Tony Smith and Kayvan Khalatbari, have all texted congrats, he said. — KB (@KevinJBeaty)
10:43 p.m.: “I’m not declaring victory yet. Multiple organizations that have endorsed me have declared victory,” CdeBaca said. “I can’t declare victory yet. I don’t want God to punish me. … 20,000 ballots haven’t been counted. … We don’t know how many of those ballots are ours.” — KB (@KevinJBeaty)
👂10:33 p.m.: At Candi CdeBaca’s party, the feeling is that her win is all but official. CdeBaca gave an enthusiastic speech to the gathered supporters and Elisabeth Epps, who has been working on the campaign, said they know CdeBaca’s people vote late and that with every update, her total goes up. She popped a bottle of champagne. — KB (@KevinJBeaty)
📊 10:02 p.m.: The 10 p.m. results dump shows very, very little change in any of the races. — AD (@AshleyDean)
🗣 9:50 p.m.: The District 3 race is still undecided, though Jamie Torres is ahead 56.6 percent to Veronica Barela’s 43.4 percent.
Torres: “I feel really good about the turnout and the numbers.”
She has not declared victory and Veronica Barela hasn’t conceded. — Alex Scoville (@AlexScoville)
🚨 9:43 p.m. Michael Somma has confirmed for Denverite that he conceded. Amanda Sandoval wins District 1. — Alex Scoville (@AlexScoville)
🚨 9:21 p.m. Giellis concedes the Denver mayoral race to Hancock. “This is not the speech I wanted to give.”
“The most important thing that happens is we changed the conversation in Denver. And we should be proud of that,” Giellis says.
Giellis with a message to women and girls: “I ran for many reasons but I ran especially for you.” — EH (@EstebanHRZ)
🚨 9:20 p.m. Giellis has conceded, according to Hancock’s campaign. — DS (@DavidASachs)
🗣 9:11 p.m.: Giellis took to the stage to thank supporters about 20 minutes after 8:30 results were released. She did not concede, despite admitting that early numbers weren’t in her favor. She was still lagging behind Hancock. She told supporters to sit tight for the next batch of results.
“There are still a lot of ballots out there,” Giellis said, prompting applause. She added, “Stay here, I want you to have another drink. I want you to keep fighting like you’ve been fighting for the past seven months for change.” — EH (@EstebanHRZ)
🗣 9:06 p.m.: Hancock is HYPED. “Listen, I love this city as much as you love our city. I accept your nomination! I accept your vote for another term! I accept your election!” — DS (@DavidASachs)
📊 9:01 p.m.: Here’s a closer look at the 8:30 returns for mayor, via Denver Elections. We’re now up to 2,240 ballots on which no candidate for mayor received a vote. — AD (@AshleyDean)
For comparison, 16,832 ballots did not have a vote for clerk and recorder and 13,187 ballots did not have a vote on Initiative 302. — AD (@AshleyDean)
🗣 8:51 p.m.: Giellis comes out. She’s thanking supporters. Says there’s still a lot of ballots out left to be counted. “We are not giving up the fight yet.” — EH (@EstebanHRZ)
🗣 8:48 p.m.: Michael Hancock is speaking at his party.
“I don’t think we’re ready to stop partying tonight. Man, what a wave of emotions. Are you ready for four more years? Tonight, we won this race together.
He has not received a call from Jamie Giellis. He congratulated her. — DS (@DavidASachs)
🚨 8:46 p.m.: A representative for Mary Beth Susman has confirmed her concession to Amanda Sawyer in the race for District 5.
Sawyer becomes just the third candidate in 32 years to unseat an incumbent council member.
“I’m just thrilled. This has been a hard-fought campaign all the way through. From the very beginning, this was about bringing the voice of the neighborhoods back to the process. And I’m just thrilled that the message resonated in the community. And the outpouring of support that we have received has been so humbling, and I’m just really grateful for the amazing community that we live in. And I really look forward to getting to work, to really represent the people who live here.” — MS (@_msakas)
🗣 8:41 p.m.: Hancock’s daughter just congratulated him on four more years. Chants of “FOUR MORE YEARS” erupt. — DS (@DavidASachs)
👀 8:40 p.m.: Hancock’s getting ready to come on stage in a bit. Everyone’s hugging cheering like this thing is over. — DS (@DavidASachs)
📊 8:26 p.m.: Hancock spokesperson says Giellis needs 67 percent of remaining votes. She’s quite optimistic that won’t happen. — DS (@DavidASachs)
🚨 8:17 p.m.: Amanda Sawyer says Mary Beth Susman has called her to congratulate her and concede the race in District 5. We’re trying to get in touch with Susman to confirm. — MS (@_msakas)
📱 8:11 p.m.: A text from Amanda Sawyer, the challenger in District 5: “Thank you. We have declared victory due to the large lead and number of votes counted. Mathematically, the results of this race are set. Thank you.”
Reached by phone, a representative for incumbent Mary Beth Susman said this was news to them and the councilwoman was not prepared to make a statement. — MS (@_msakas)
👂 8:10 p.m. Scott Gilmore, head of Denver Parks and Rec, just grabbed a slice of pizza at a food truck here and yelled “I STILL HAVE JOB! I CAN AFFORD PIZZA!” He was… jovial.
👀 8:09 p.m.:
🗣 7:59 p.m.: Bernard Hurley, Hancock supporter and RiNo developer who runs an organization that gets formerly incarcerated people work on city projects: “I feel like to stop the city with the progress that it’s making right now would be crazy.”
He says there’s still big shortage of affordable housing. — DS (@DavidASachs)
📱 7:54 p.m.: By the way, Calderón said over text she would be attending. — EH (@EstebanHRZ)
👀 7:49 p.m.: Former mayoral candidate Penfield Tate is here at Giellis’s party, making the rounds. Both he and Lisa Calderón backed Giellis after the May election. — EH (@EstebanHRZ)
📊 7:48 p.m.: Important to note: Denver Elections says its 7 p.m. report includes all ballots received between May 20 and June 3. Subsequent reports will reflect ballots received on Election Day. — AD (@AshleyDean)
📊 7:46 p.m.: Here’s another look at returns so far, this one by party. — AD (@AshleyDean)
📊 7:39 p.m.: So far 127,342 votes have been counted for mayor. Across all the ballots counted so far, 1,998 did not pick a candidate for mayor. — AD (@AshleyDean)
👂 7:34 p.m.: Interesting that the DJ just cut off “This Is America” by Childish Gambino at the Hancock party. And by interesting I mean obvious walk-back. I’m here for the music takes. — DS (@DavidASachs)
🗣 7:29 p.m.: José Castorena, volunteer for and supporter of Hancock, called the positive early results “a win for Old Denver.”
“I’m part of minority. I’m from Mexico. I feel represented with Michael Hancock. I believe in him.” — DS (@DavidASachs)
🗣 7:17 p.m.: Flor Alvidrez, a small business owner who lives in Athmar Park, said she was initially interested in Lisa Calderón because of her support for the Latino community. But after doing some research on the candidates, Alvidrez said Giellis caught her eye. Alvidrez ended up volunteering for Giellis’s campaign and hosted a fundraiser at her offices.
“As a woman in construction, I know what it’s like to be in a male-dominated industry, and when she was getting attacked and she handled it with class, with dignity, and was direct, I admired that so much from her,” Alvidrez said, referencing some campaign blunders involving racial elements including a moment when Giellis was unable to say what the NAACP stands for. “That’s the main reason I wanted to support her. But I also really aligned with her policies and visions for Denver.” — EH (@EstebanHRZ)
🗣 7:17 p.m.: Cheesman Park resident Alexandra Hilker said having grown up in Denver, she’s felt like the city has had “very limited female support” from the government. She was an early attendee at Giellis’s watch party at Ophelia’s.
“I think that she really just brings a voice that needs to be heard,” Hilker said. “I think her vision is very much about taking on challenges in a way that are creative and are thinking outside the box that I think a lot of politicians have yet to do.”
Hilker said Giellis has proven herself as a leader and hasn’t “siloed” herself to specific interests or certain groups, but rather focuses on “whatever benefits the greater good.”
“It’s a really exciting night,” Hilker said. “I think we all are here because we’re confident in her and she’s going to do a lot of good for the city. And this being my hometown, as a Denverite and a Coloradan, she has my support 100 percent.” — EH (@EstebanHRZ)
🗣 7:13 p.m.: Hancock’s campaign spokesperson: “We’re not calling this just yet.” But she said she’s happy with the first batch of results — almost a 10 point lead. — DS (@DavidASachs)
👀 7:05 p.m.: Giellis’s watch party was buzzing Tuesday as polls closed on Tuesday. There was no noticeable change at the party as the first batch of results showed Giellis lagging behind Hancock. — EH (@EstebanHRZ)
👂 7:02 p.m.: First results are in. Big lead for Hancock. 55.47 to 44.53. Lots of whoops and cheers from the crowd. People are hyped here, yelling “FEEL THE VICTORY.” — DS (@DavidASachs)
👀 6:59 p.m.: A wee observation: With 1 minute before the first batch of results drops, the Hancock party is sparser than it was in May at this time. — DS (@DavidASachs)
📊 6:53 p.m. With the first round of results just minutes away, here’s a look at some ballot return data so far. — AD (@AshleyDean)
👂 6:52 p.m.: First song to come on at Hancock’s party is Michael Jackson’s “PYT.”
Campaign spokeswoman April Valdez Villa says the program will start either at 7 or 8:30 p.m., depending on what the results show. — DS (@DavidASachs)
👀 6:24 p.m. I’m at Jamie Giellis’s watch party at Ophelia’s, where her supporters will hope to see Giellis make history tonight. A win would make her the city’s first woman mayor. — EH (@EstebanHRZ)
👂 6:23 p.m.: Hancock’s people are saying he won’t appear until they know where the night’s headed. Nobody’s here but me and a couple of reporters. Kyle Clark is talking endlessly into a camera. — KB (@KevinJBeaty)
👀 3:56 p.m.: Voters are out voting and candidates are still out canvassing. — KB (@KevinJBeaty)
🐦 3:45 p.m. Be sure to follow the whole Denverite election night team (with support from our CPR pals).
👋🏼 3 p.m.: It’s a beautiful day to get out and vote if you haven’t already. Remember: you can still register to vote and you can vote as long as you’re in line by 7 p.m.
My ballot never made it to me by mail this time, so I voted in person at Denver Elections. It was fast and easy, and I learned you can vote on a tablet.
I’ll be your guide on this election night. Stay tuned here for updates from Denverite staff out in the field. — Ashley Dean (@AshleyDean)