Thursday, May 2, 2019

Denver Municipal Election. Some Things to Watch for Election Night.

Modern Denver political history leaves analyses of the May 7 municipal race with a dearth of data. The only recent third-term election was Wellington Webb in 1999, and he was mostly unopposed. Mayors Federico Peña and Webb had competitive second-term races, which they both won after very hard-fought first elections. Peña’s runoff was also close.

Mayor Michael Hancock will have to be very lucky to avoid a runoff, given the number of strong opponents, the aggravation about overdevelopment and the general anti-establishment sentiment of voters. The incumbent also faces an electorate that has grown by more than 50,000 since the last time he faced a competitive contest (2011). They tend to be younger and Anglo and turned out in droves in the November 2018 midterm.

As The Buzz pointed out (April 24 – High or Low Turnout – Denver Mayor’s Election 2019), Denver city election turnout tends to be modest, even in the highly contested elections. Voter turnout will be one of many items to watch in the election. Other factors are:
  1. Denver mayoral election turnout tends to be low. That’s the way municipal leaders desire it by scheduling the election in early May, away from higher turnout November elections. Low turnout often helps the status quo, but in 2019, there are some issues rallying the electorate.
  2. The top issue – development – could produce a wave of anti-establishment voting. If so, the mayor will have a run-off and Denver politics will have a turbulent May.
  3. Proposition 300 is producing passion. It is likely to drive some turnout. It is also likely to lose by a big margin. Nor does Magic Mushrooms appear to have support.
  4. Jamie Giellis is the frontrunner among the challengers based on money, yard signs and friends of the Mayor targeting her in attack ads. There appears to be a lot of campaigning north of 6th Avenue, but how will south of 6th Avenue vote?

No comments: