Yo, Denverites: You thought you were done voting? Not even close.
Yes, the city election ended Tuesday. But you're still not finished choosing your next mayor, your new clerk and recorder, and (depending on where you live in the city) possibly who wins one of five undecided city council races.
On May 20, the Denver Elections Division will begin mailing runoff ballots to registered voters. You can vote by mailing the ballot back, dropping it off at a ballot return box, or voting in person at a city Vote Center starting May 28.
Runoff election day is June 4 -- just 25 days from now. (Click here for more information.)
In the runoff, everyone will vote for mayor and clerk. And if you live in an undecided council district, you'll vote for that as well.
In the mayor's race, two-term incumbent Michael Hancock finished well in front of his nearest rival, Jamie Giellis -- but not so far in front that he avoided a runoff.
In final unofficial results, Hancock had 38.7% of the vote to Giellis' 24.9%. But Hancock would have needed 50% plus one vote to skip the June 4 runoff.
“We’ve got another month to tell the story, and that’s OK,” Hancock told the crowd at his election-night watch party at the EXDO Events Center in the River North neighborhood.
He added: "Now this campaign is one-on-one."
Over the next few weeks, "our opponent is going to fight like hell, so we have to fight like hell, too," Giellis told her supporters on election night at the Ramble Hotel in Denver’s Upper Larimer neighborhood.
Both candidates have vowed to take the high road in the weeks until the runoff. But if history is any indicator, expect an intense and sharp-elbowed contest that will highlight their differences.
As for the other four candidates in the city election, Lisa Calderón, a criminal justice professor at Regis University, finished with 18.5% of the vote in final unofficial returns, while Penfield Tate III, a former state lawmaker who served under Mayor Federico Peña and was a department head under Gov. Roy Romer, wound up with 14.7%.
Two other challengers -- Kalyn Rose Heffernan, a disability rights activist and an art teacher; and Stephan “Chairman Seku” Evans, a community activist and regular city council meeting attendee -- trailed well behind with 2.5% and 0.7% of the vote respectively.
Both Hancock and Giellis enter the runoff with modest resources and major challenges.
The most recent campaign finance reports show that Hancock, who raised $2 million during the general election campaign, still had $139,077 on hand as of May 1. Giellis, who raised $505,874 during the campaign, listed $108,880 in cash on hand.
Another factor will be outside independent groups, which financed advertising and mailers that attacked both Hancock and Giellis during the general election campaign.
For Hancock, the challenge will now be to expand his vote total beyond his core supporters and reach some of the city’s newer residents and others who did not vote in the general election.
Giellis’ challenge will be tapping into the support that went to Calderón and Tate. Her campaign manager Sheila MacDonald said they would be reaching out to the other candidates in the days ahead.
“All of them ran great campaigns. Their ideas are important, and we want their support,” MacDonald said.
During the campaign, Tate and Calderón said they would support one another if either made it into the runoff. They were less explicit about endorsing Giellis.
Hancock also can draw on some endorsements from some heavy hitters in Denver politics. Toward the end of his post-election gathering Tuesday night, former mayor and now presidential candidate John Hickenlooper made a quiet appearance.
Hancock has listed Hickenlooper along with U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and former Mayor Wellington Webb among his supporters.
Also runoff bound is the race for Denver clerk and recorder.
City Councilman Paul López wound up leading his two rivals for the clerk's post in the city election. But he will face Peg Perl in the June 4 runoff since he fell short of a 50% plus one vote majority.
López, Perl and Sarah O. McCarthy faced off to succeed Debra Johnson as Denver clerk and recorder. The office oversees areas ranging from marriage licenses to foreclosures to elections. Johnson decided not to run for another term.
López, a term-limited city councilman who has worked as a labor and community organizer, garnered 36.9% of the vote in final unofficial results.
Perl, a lawyer who served as policy counsel at the Federal Elections Commission and as senior counsel for Colorado Ethics Watch, captured 32.7% of the vote.
And McCarthy, the former executive director of Metro Denver Habitat for Humanity who ran unsuccessfully against Johnson in 2011, was eleminated in the three-way race with 30.5% of the vote.
As for the city council, eight of the 13 seats were filled election night, but five are headed for the runoff.
Incumbents Deborah "Debbie" Ortega and Robin Kniech finished well in front in a field of six candidates for Denver's two at-large city council seats, so they'll serve another term.
Ortega got 36.2% of the vote and Kniech 27.5% in final unofficial returns. Their nearest challenger was Tony Pigford with 14%.
The two at-large council members represent the entire city; the other 11 seats are for districts scattered across Denver.
At-large candidates don't go to a runoff even if they don't get more than 50% of the vote; the top two vote getters are elected.
Not so in the other 11 races on the ballot, and five of those are on their way to the June 4 runoff.
In the race in northwest Denver's District 1 -- an open seat after Councilman Rafael Espinoza ended his bid for re-election last December -- Amanda Sandoval enjoyed a wide lead in a field of seven candidates with 31.2% of the vote, but fell well short of the 50% level needed to skip the runoff. She'll face Mike Somma, who scored 17%.
West Denver's District 3 also was an open race, with current Councilman Paul López exiting to run for clerk and recorder. Jamie Torres (with 40.3% in the May 7 election) will face Veronica Barela (36.3%) on June 4; two other candidates were eliminated.
In east Denver's District 5, challenger Amanda Sawyer (40.7%) outpolled Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman (36%) in a four-way race; they'll meet again in the runoff.
In central and northeast Denver's District 9, incumbent Albus Brooks (44.8%) will face challenger Candi CdeBaca (43.1%) on June 4; two challengers were eliminated.
And in District 10, also in central Denver, Councilman Wayne New (39.1%) will contend with challenger Chris Hinds (30.3%) in the runoff following a four-way race May 7.
Three other incumbents were elected in competitive races in the city election, in addition to the at-large candidates: Kendra Black in District 4 (77.8%), Chris Herndon in District 8 (51.2%) and Stacie Gilmore in District 11 (73.8%).
Incumbents Kevin Flynn in District 2, Paul Kashmann in District 6 and Jolon Clark in District 7 ran unopposed.