Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has challenged mayoral opponent Jamie Giellis to a series of 12 debates prior to the June 4 runoff election.
With just 25 days remaining before the election, that would amount to a debate almost every other day.
“There’s a clear choice in this election, and the people of Denver deserve a robust conversation on Denver’s future,” Hancock said in a prepared statement.
“I’m eager to reach every voter in Denver and work with them to keep moving Denver forward by extending opportunity to all and tackling our challenges with bold solutions, and not rolling back the clock on everything our city has accomplished together," he added.
Hancock, who is seeking his third and final four-year term as mayor, finished first in the May 7 general election with 38.7% of the vote. But a runoff is required because he did not garner 50% plus one.
Giellis, an urban planner and past president of the River North Arts District, was the second-highest vote-getter in a field of six candidates with 24.9% of the vote, enough to advance to the runoff election.
Giellis responded that she is willing to debate Hancock and criticized him for only agreeing to two debates so far and not to two others that she has agreed to.
"Since May 7th when 62% of Denver voters cast their ballot for change in Denver's leadership, I have agreed to 4 debates," she said in a prepared statement
"Unfortunately, Mayor Hancock has not confirmed two of those including the Denver Decides on May 23rd and the NW neighborhood Association on May 22nd." she added.
"I will commit to attending as many debates as the people of Denver wish to host, because it provides more of an opportunity for voters to hear where each candidate is on the issues. Denver is ready for a change" she concluded.
Giellis' campaign spokeswoman Meghan Dougherty added, "She is willing to do as many debates as can get scheduled."
Hancock’s campaign spokeswoman April Valdez Villa said two debates already have been scheduled, one with Colorado Public Television (Denver channel 12) on May 14 and another with 9News on May 21.
She said there are about five other invitations to debates that have been received but not yet scheduled.
Valdez Villa said the campaign is encouraging other civic groups to host debates between the two candidates.
“We’re also making sure that every community has an opportunity to host these forums or debates in the runoff,” she said.
Note: this story was updated at 5:16 p.m. with Giellis' response.