Welcome to Run-Off Season

Denver’s municipal election results are (mostly) in, and here’s what we know:

  • In Denver municipal elections, candidates must receive at least 50% plus one vote of votes cast to win outright. Several races were tight, and in many, no candidate crossed the victory threshold. There will be several races that go to a run-off on June 6.
  • Ballot Measures 2M & 2N passed, updating Denver’s zoning code.
  • Ballot Measure 2O failed by a wide margin. The measure was to determine whether the former Park Hill Golf Course land must stay zoned a golf course or whether it can be developed by Westside Investment Partners.
  • Ultra-progressive candidates had a slow start and didn’t initially appear competitive in the first vote returns. However, late voters boosted their numbers and pushed several into a runoff.
  • Voter turnout was low. The city is estimating about 175,000 ballots had been cast, which would equate to just over 33% of registered voters and 38% of active voters. That trails voter turnout in 2019 but exceeds turnout in 2011, which was the last time Denver had an open mayor’s race.
  • There are still some 2,500 remaining ballots to be counted.

Read below to learn more about the individual races and what happens next.

The election results below are based on the April 6, 2:00 p.m. release. While more results will trickle in, we do not expect major changes.

The Mayor’s Race: Run-off

Mike Johnston: 41,926 votes – 24.45%

Kelly Brough: 34,375 votes – 20.04%

Lisa Calderón: 31,164 votes – 18.17%

The run-off candidates for the mayor’s race are Kelly Brough and Mike Johnston. Though the election results won’t be certified until April 20, Brough and Johnston have confident leads. The third-place finisher was DSA endorsed candidate Lisa Calderón. Calderón also placed third in the 2019 mayoral election, where she finished with 33,100 votes, indicating that she’s carved out a loyal, though limited, segment of Denver voters.

Johnston’s lead in the general is not a prognosis of his chances in the run-off. If history is any indicator, the candidate who starts from behind may very well win the office; think about what happened for both Hickenlooper and Hancock respectively when they ran for the mayor’s office. Further, many have reported that this election had low voter turnout because of decision fatigue; the crowded ballot dis-incentivized people from participating. Given that the field is narrower, and that this race will only become more competitive, the runoff will attract a different (and perhaps greater) segment of Denver voters. The candidates have another two months to make their case to Denver’s voters.

The Denver Metro Chamber is holding a member-only Mayoral Forum event in partnership with Downtown Denver Partnership and VISIT DENVER. If you are a member of the Denver Metro Chamber, check your emails or reach out to us to get the Chamber member registration code.

At-Large: Gonzales-Gutierrez and ______ Win

Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez: 52,486 votes – 20.57%

Sarah Parady: 42,364 votes – 16.6%

Penfield Tate: 39,825 votes – 15.61%

Travis Leiker: 38,554 votes – 15.11%

Unlike the other races in this election, the At-Large race does not go to a runoff. Instead, the top two candidates secure seats on the City Council. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez’s win did not come as a surprise. Her family has deep roots and major name recognition in the city. Her grandfather, Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, was a prominent community leader in Denver, and she herself has already won three elections in Denver as a Representative for District 4 in the Colorado General Assembly. Her legislative record at the Capitol includes:

  • HB23-1171 Just Cause Requirement Eviction of Residential Tenant (Chamber opposed, bill active)
  • HB23-1118 Fair Workweek Employment Standards (Chamber opposed, bill failed)
  • SB19-225 Authorize Local Governments to Stabilize Rent (Chamber opposed, bill failed)

Her experience at the State Capitol suggests that she will be an active city council person. We expect Gonzales-Gutierrez will take full advantage of the council’s legislative authority during her tenure, and her legislative record suggests she is very focused on the landlord-tenant relationship, employment standards, and women’s issues. While we’ve opposed pieces of Gonzales-Gutierrez’s legislative agenda, she has done much-appreciated, genuine stakeholding work on her bills.

The race to claim the second at-large seat is significantly more competitive. Sarah Parady, a DSA endorsed candidate has traded leads with Penfield Tate, a former member of Colorado’s General Assembly. The two are boxing out Travis Leiker, who ran as moderate.

Parady is a well-spoken lawyer who does public interest work in the city. She will be a highly effective member of council; however, her DSA endorsement gives us pause about her willingness to bring the business community to the table when considering issues of city-wide concern. Tate has been a vocal opponent of the Park Hill redevelopment. Now that he is within striking distance for a seat on council, he could be involved in plans to maintain and reestablish Park Hill as a golf course, or he will be at the table negotiating what new development plans might look like.

Council District 1: Sandoval Wins

Amanda Sandoval: 13,501 votes – 82.01%

Ava Truckey: 2,962 votes – 17.99%

Incumbent Amanda Sandoval handily won her re-election over progressive candidate Ava Truckey. Her re-election campaign has focused on community centered development, increasing budgets for first responders, and increasing the minimum wage.

Council District 2: Flynn Wins

Kevin Flynn: 8,741 votes – 71.9%

Tiffany Caudill: 2,193 votes – 18.04%

Incumbent Kevin Flynn also had a decisive re-election win. He was challenged by Tiffany Caudill and Chris Herr for the seat. Caudill was running as a part of the progressive, DSA slate, but did not garner enough votes to force a runoff. Flynn’s re-election campaign has focused on helping local businesses with zoning, licensing and legislative proposals; bolstering the Denver Ethics Code; and developing affordable housing strategies that consider fees, taxes and utilities costs.

Council District 3: Torres Wins

Jamie Torres: 6,622 votes – 99.92%

Incumbent Jamie Torres won her re-election campaign. She was not meaningfully challenged for the seat. Her re-election campaign has focused on increasing food access, allowing mobile home residents to renovate or replace their units, and ensuring affordability alongside new development.

Council District 4: Romero Campbell Wins

Diana Romero Campbell: 7,989 votes – 56.51%

Tony Pigford: 6,149 votes – 43.49%

Council District 4’s seat was open this election, after Council Member Kendra Black decided to not seek re-election. Diana Romero Campbell and Tony Pigford ran a competitive race, Romero Campbell being the more moderate choice and Pigford being the DSA candidate. Romero Campbell won outright on issues such as working with law enforcement and co-responder programs rather than defunding the police; developing transit-oriented housing in district; and protecting neighborhood trails and outdoor spaces.

Council District 5: Sawyer Wins

Amanda Sawyer: 12,510 votes – 65.3%

Michael Hughes: 6,649 votes – 34.7%

Incumbent Amanda Sawyer won re-election; however, she was notably challenged by Michael Hughes for the seat. Hughes pulled just over a third of voters but was not able to force a run-off. Sawyer ran on increasing traffic safety, creating design standards through a zoning overlay of Colfax; and increasing notifications to Registered Neighborhood Organizations.

Council District 6: Kashmann Wins

Paul Kashmann: 13,220 votes – 100%

Incumbent Paul Kashmann ran unopposed for re-election. He was not meaningfully challenged for the seat. His re-election campaign has focused on reducing the speed limit on neighborhood streets, increasing Denver’s tree canopy and increasing large vehicle fines.

Council District 7: Run-off

Flor Alvidrez: 5,820 votes – 38.43%

Nick Campion: 2,909 votes – 19.21%

Adam Estroff: 2,814 votes – 18.58%

Council District 7’s seat was an open seat this election, after Council Member Jolon Clark decided to not seek re-election. Flor Alvidrez won enough votes to guarantee her name on a run-off ballot. Nick Campion and Adam Estroff are separated by a handful of votes, and we may not know who makes it to the run-off for several more days.

Council District 8: Run-off

Shontel M. Lewis: 5,038 votes – 35.63%

Brad Revare: 4,743 votes – 33.55%

Council District 8’s seat was an open seat this election, after Council Member Chris Herndon reached his term limit. Five people were on the ballot jostling for this open seat, and while early reports showed Brad Revare as the frontrunner, he has been knocked out of first place by Shontel Lewis. However, because Lewis did not reach 50% plus one vote, both candidates are heading to a run-off.

Revare has previously worked for CareerWise Colorado and left the director role at Colorado Succeeds to start his campaign. He has focused on increasing youth programs and investing in youth enrichment facilities, dedicating protected lanes for cyclists and buses, and incentivizing Community Land Trusts.

Lewis previously worked as the Vice President of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity for the Colorado Coalition for the homeless before being elected to the RTD Board in 2019. She is a DSA endorsed candidate. Her campaign issues include creating city owned and operated affordable housing, facilitating adaptive reuse of commercial spaces for housing, and shifting traffic enforcement duties away from law enforcement.

Council District 9: Run-off

Candi CdeBaca: 7,330 votes – 44.24%

Darrell Watson: 7,122 votes – 42.98%

Incumbent Candi CdeBaca was challenged by Kwon Atlas and Darrell Watson for her seat representing District 9. Atlas did not prove to be a significant challenger to CdeBaca, but he did play a role in CdeBaca’s “April Surprise” by filing a campaign finance complaint against CdeBaca and Calderón that was recently made public by the Denver Post. This is one of the key run-off elections to watch, and how the finance complaint matter gets settled could be a theme of the run-off election between CdeBaca and Watson.

Watson is a co-founder at the Watson Wenk Group and has significant board experience in the public and nonprofit sectors. He is running to target affordable housing by area median income (AMI), increase funding for homeownership programs, and reform Registered Neighborhood Organizations.

CdeBaca has been on the City Council since 2019, when she challenged and defeated sitting Council Member Albus Brooks. Her tenure on council has been controversial and on many high-profile issues, she has been the lone vote. She is a DSA endorsed candidate. This cycle she is running to establish more community land trusts, ensure new jobs pay livable wages and found a public bank.

Council District 10: Run-off

Chris Hinds: 6,016 votes – 35.62%

Shannon Hoffman: 4,563 votes – 27.01%

Noah Kaplan: 4,333 votes – 25.65%

Incumbent Chris Hinds was challenged by three folks to represent District 10. While his race was expected to go to a run-off, early returns showed Noah Kaplan as the challenger. However, in recent count updates, Shannon Hoffman has surged ahead and will likely be the other run-off candidate.

Hinds has been on the City Council since 2019 and over the course of his tenure has built a strong working reputation for himself. Hinds is running to make Denver more accessible for people with disabilities and to prioritize housing first for people experiencing homelessness.

Hoffman is running as the DSA candidate in this race. She has focused on using city funding to create city-owned and managed housing; overturning Denver’s urban camping ban; and developing worker centers throughout Denver.

Council District 11: Gilmore Wins

Stacie Gilmore: 6,076 votes – 99.79%

Incumbent Stacie Gilmore won her re-election campaign. She was not meaningfully challenged for the seat. She ran on creating a workforce development training center in-district; preserving the culture and charter of Denver neighborhoods experiencing change; and building a Green Valley Ranch Recreation Center indoor pool.

Bills We Took a Position On


  • House Bill 1198 establishes a teacher externship program through the Department of Labor and Employment that would allow teachers to participate in experiential learning opportunities with employers to gain knowledge and experience.
  • House Bill 1255 preempts any existing local growth restriction and prohibits local governments from enacting or enforcing one unless the local government has experienced a natural disaster emergency.
  • House Bill 1260 creates new and modifies current state tax incentives to maximize federal funding for taxpayers engaged in semiconductor and advanced manufacturing.


  • Senate Bill 201 changes the commission process for entering a forced pooling order.

Read all of our stances.