Now that his third and final mayoral election is behind him, Mayor Michael Hancock said he hopes to have a beer sometime soon with his runoff-election challenger Jamie Giellis to talk about some of the ideas she raised during a tough and often intense campaign.
“We agreed we’ll sit down and have a conversation when we all get some rest,” Hancock told reporters late Tuesday after getting a concession call from Giellis, an urban planner who was making her first run for office.
“I proposed it to her. Let’s grab a beer and talk. She has some great ideas from the campaign,” he said.
One particular idea he noted was her suggestions for how to better handle recycling in the city.
Hancock said he kept a book during the campaign in which he logged some of the ideas that his opponents suggested both ahead of the general election and during the runoff campaign that followed.
He compared the runoff campaign to a job interview for Giellis, a former president of the River North Arts District, and a job evaluation for him.
He said voters made it clear that his administration needs to do a better job in some areas, particularly when it comes to communicating with the public about what the city is doing.
“We thought we were doing pretty good with our regular communications,” he said while talking to reporters at an election victory party at the EXDO Event Center in River North.
“But I think there are some people that we’re not reaching,” he added. “We’ve got to do a better job of reaching them and engaging them.”
“So, we heard that very loudly and clearly. People need to know better what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.”
During the last three months of campaign, Hancock’s opponents delivered a blistering critique of his administration.
They accused him of putting developers ahead of neighborhood concerns, of not doing enough to deal with the homelessness problem, not creating enough affordable housing and not managing the explosive growth and development that Denver has undergone in the last eight years.
Hancock said some of that criticism was pure politics, he said.
“Whenever you have anyone who only speaks about the negative and never say anything positive, you’ve got to understand it’s about politics,” Hancock said. “We have not served eight years and not done anything right. That’s just not possible.”
He also noted that polling done by his office over the last four years about 60% of the residents surveyed consistently said the city is moving in the right direction.
As for Tuesday’s runoff election, Hancock said he believed the deciding issue was how residents felt about the state of Denver’s economy.
“I think it was the bread-and-butter issues,” While doing “honk and wave” campaigning on Denver street corners, Hancock said both blue and white collar drivers gave him a thumbs up.
“At the end of the day it’s about, am I working? Am I taking care of my family?” he said.
“And I think people believe this economy is working for us right now,” Hancock added. “And as long as people can take care of their family, take care of their needs, they’re going to vote their interests.”