Denver finally has its next mayor, after runoff voting concluded Tuesday night. Democrat Michael Hancock was winning a third term with about 56 percent of the vote when challenger Jamie Giellis, an independent and urban planner, conceded. No one can say Hancock won easily, though. The Denver Post headlined the result with “Hancock victorious in scathing campaign,” and went on to say it was “one of the most expensive and strident races in the city’s recent memory – a contest fueled by angst and anger over the city’s rapid redevelopment, but decided in its final weeks on questions of race and gender.”
Hancock, who is black, cast Giellis, who is white, as a racist, a charge that primarily stemmed from Giellis having once stumbled over the precise meaning of the name NAACP (they are the initials for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which has become anachronistic since it was founded in 1909). He also suggested, falsely, that Giellis had labeled all immigrants criminals.
Giellis countered by pointing to sexually themed text messages Hancock sent to a city employee in 2012 as proof of his poor character.
Millions of dollars were spent, but there was little clarity about who was best suited to oversee the way much of Colorado’s population will live.
In some ways, Denver is a victim of its own success, having seen a thrumming economy over the last decade fueled by people who have flocked there in good part from the big three blue states, California, Illinois and New York. They do not necessarily want Denver to be like Los Angeles or Chicago, but they are wary of having anyone in charge who is not a Democrat. They want someone who can solve the city’s burgeoning problem with homelessness, at least to the extent that they do not have to see it. They want someone who will stand up for immigrants, documented or not, against the rival of blue-city mayors, President Donald Trump, and someone who will make sure the streets get plowed, and the recycling gets picked up even if there is nowhere to take it.
We wish Mayor Hancock luck.