District 5 Denver City Council race: Who’s running and what you need to know about the district

Two candidates are on the ballot: An incumbent and a challenger.
3 min. read
The Theo and Milo apartment buildings at 9th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. Oct. 14, 2021.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Denver heads to the polls on April 4 to vote for a new mayor and decide who will represent a majority of City Council districts. If you're voting in District 5, you've come to the right place.

Important to note: During redistricting, District 5 gained Denver's Cherry Creek and Country Club neighborhoods, which were previously in District 10 with Capitol Hill.

City Council District 5.
Data Source: Denver Elections Di

Here's who's running:

Incumbent Amanda Sawyer

Sawyer is seeking her second term in office. She unseated Mary Beth Susman in 2019, running on the idea that development in her district should be curbed and residents should have more power in how their neighborhoods grow.

This time around, Sawyer told us she's focused on transportation, specifically traffic calming and engineering to make neighborhoods safer for people who are not inside cars. If reelected, she also wants to expand accessory dwelling units in her district and shepherd a proposed "bus rapid transit" corridor along Leetsdale Drive.

Michael Hughes

Hughes is Sawyer's only competitor on the ballot. He's told us he's worried about Denver's affordability and would like to see more units on the market, but he added he wouldn't support using "blunt instruments" like clearing out single-typed zoning across the city. For example, he wouldn't move to change Hilltop's exclusive single-family zoning plan, where he's a resident. He's also interested in building down - as in underground, for things like parking and trains - and said he's interested in pushing for infrastructure that would decrease residents' need for cars, which would help the city become more sustainable.

You can click this chart to see an interactive version.

What's happening in the district?

There's a lot of recent and ongoing development in the area. Possibly the largest example is new apartments and retail that's transformed the area around 9th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in Hale. Not far away, the big Bed Bath and Beyond is still empty in Cherry Creek, and there's been talk about putting housing there.

Speaking on 9th Avenue: a Denver Water pipe burst beneath the street that made a big hole there in February.

Speaking of Colorado Boulevard: it's still kind of a hellscape, but things weren't always that way.

Also, Zaidy's Deli is going strong off Leetsdale in Washington Virginia Vale. They just expanded with a to-go counter.

Need more help voting? Check out the rest of our voter guide here.

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