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Denver voters to pick city's new mayor from a crowded field of candidates

A white sign with blue letters reads "vote here" with orange traffic cones and a black car in the background
David Zalubowski
A motorist guides his vehicle to a drop an election ballot at a drive-through collection site outside the election commission headquarters in Denver on Nov. 7, 2017. The 2023 Denver mayoral election will be only the fifth since the 1950s without an incumbent mayoral candidate.

Denver residents are deciding who will be the city’s next mayor out of an unusually crowded pool of candidates. Current Mayor Michael Hancock has reached his term limit after having been in office for twelve years, making this only the fifth mayoral election in Denver since the 1950s without an incumbent candidate.

There are 16 candidates left in the mayoral race, although 17 will appear on the ballot. Former candidate Kwame Spearman, the owner of Denver-based Tattered Cover Book Store, dropped out of the race after the ballots were already printed.

Here are the other candidates:

  • Renate Behrens
  • Kelly Brough
  • Lisa Calderón
  • Al Gardner
  • Chris Hansen
  • Leslie Herod
  • Mike Johnston
  • Aurelio Martinez
  • Deborah "Debbie" Ortega
  • Terrance Roberts
  • Trinidad Rodriguez
  • Andy Rougeot
  • Ean Thomas Tafoya
  • Robert Treta
  • James Walsh
  • Thomas Wolf
  • Dr. Abass Yaya Bamba (write-in candidate)

The race between the candidates is tight and there isn't a clear frontrunner. If no candidate wins a majority of votes, there will be a runoff in June between the two candidates with the highest numbers of votes. Central issues for this mayoral race include housing affordability, homelessness and public safety.
Voters will also be considering eight open city council seats, including two at-large members who will represent the whole city of Denver. This election will also decide the fate of the land formerly occupied by the Park Hill Golf Course.

Ballot drop box and vote center locations are available online. Denverites can register to vote through election day. All ballots must be turned in by 7 p.m. on April 4.

I’m the Statehouse Reporter at KUNC, which means I help make sense of the latest developments at the Colorado State Capitol. I cover the legislature, the governor, and government agencies.
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