As voting begins in Denver, whatever lead Michael Hancock had is being challenged by a tough, targeted campaign by Chris Romer.
A couple of polls reported on May 12 gave Hancock a 4 to 15 point lead, largely based on Hancock’s higher favorability rating and strong support among Denver liberals.
Recognizing he was behind and would likely lose, Romer immediately went on the offensive to raise Hancock’s negatives. From day one he attacked Hancock in forums, on TV and later in direct mail for his pay raise vote. This helped Romer solidify support among Republicans, older voters and some less attentive independents (few will vote).
To help his favorability rating, keep momentum in the media and attract some particular constituencies, Romer made the deals necessary to get high value endorsements. Auditor Dennis Gallagher, who represents old Denver, especially northwest Denver, and older voters, came on board. James Mejia, as the third largest vote-getter in the general election, was a prize and helps with Baby Boomers and Hispanic voters. Federico Pena’s endorsement gathered considerable high-profile coverage and reinforced Romer was a dealmaker, a talent needed to run a big city. Pena has a liberal identify and is the city’s highest-profile Hispanic leader.
Romer’s advertising, besides attacking Hancock’s votes, focused on issues such as jobs and education, which is what a politician with poor favorability substitutes to attract voters.
Hancock’s weird endorsement on including creationism in schools may have been his campaign’s second biggest mistake after his pay raise vote. Creationism is a view that is not widely shared and hurt him with his liberal base. Romer was happy to exploit it.
9News – Poll shows Hancock with lead over Romer
Denver Post – Former Denver Mayor Federico Pena to endorse candidate Chris Romer