Denver at-large council candidates

The six candidates for two at-large Denver City Council seats debate issues April 2 at the Denver Art Museum. Shown from left are: Jesse Parris, Johnny Hayes, incumbent Deborah Ortega, moderator Wendy Brockman, Tony Pigford, Lynne Langdon and incumbent Robin Kniech.

Incumbents Deborah "Debbie" Ortega and Robin Kniech were well in front in a large field of candidates for Denver's two at-large city council seats in unofficial returns early Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in the race for the open council seat in District 1, Amanda Sandoval enjoyed a wide lead in partial returns, but was well short of a 50% majority needed to avoid a runoff with second-place finisher Mike Somma.

In open District 3, Jamie Torres led Veronica Elizabeth Barela by nearly 3 percentage points in returns as of 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Incumbents Kendra Black in District 4 and Stacie Gilmore in District 11 were elected with roughly three-quarters of the vote in unofficial returns, and incumbent Chris Herndon was hovering just above 51% in District 8.

Denver residents were voting on 13 council seats in the election that ended Tuesday — two citywide at-large positions and 11 seats representing council districts across the city.

All but three of the council races were contested, and there were seven candidates in District 1, six vying for the two at-large spots and for the District 8 seat, and four each in districts 3, 5, 9 and 10.

Northwest Denver's District 1 race may have been the hottest, given the number of candidates and the lack of an incumbent; Councilman Rafael Espinoza ended his bid for re-election last December.

In the running with Sandoval and Somma were Victoria R. Aguilar, Sabrina D’Agosta, Scott Allan Durrah, Praj Kulkarni and David Sabados.

West Denver's District 3 also was an open race, with current Councilman Paul Lopez exiting to run for clerk and recorder. Joining Barela and Torres in the race were Annamarie Martinez and Raymond Montoya.

Issues in the various council districts vary, but overall, the election will decide the extent of support Mayor Michael Hancock can count on from the council for his proposals — or, as the case may be, those of his successor. (Hancock and Jamie Giellis will face off in the June 4 runoff election.)

And across the city, the pace of development and growth were hot topics.

As for the two council slots representing the city as a whole, issues brought up at an April 2 debate ranged from fracking to rent control to bus fares to gentrification.

Kniech and Ortega faced Johnny Hayes, Lynne Langdon, Jesse Lashawn Parris and Tony Pigford for the two at-large positions. There will be no runoff; the two top vote getters are elected.

Incumbents Kevin Flynn in District 2, Paul Kashmann in District 6 and Jolon Clark in District 7 ran unopposed.

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