Coyote Gulch brings us (courtesy the Denver Post), the candidates for the 2007 municipal elections in Denver this Spring. I'll handicap the races as much as I can now. My predictions are based on name recognition, political clout, and the degree to which the campaigns involved have their acts together. These are predictions only, not necessarily endorsements. The truth of the matter is that I know only a little about many of the candidates. Voting will be by mail only. If no candidate wins a majority in the first round, a second round between the top two vote getters is held. Karen Morrisey has some thumbnail biographical details on many of the candidates at her website. The candidate descriptions below are based largely on Google research and what I've heard around town.
Too Close To Call
There is one race where I'm not prepared to make a prediction, Council District 3, which has seven candidates running, all of whom have active in their community, but none of whom are clear front runners in the race.
District 3 (departing incumbent Rosemary Rodriguez): Antoinette Alire, Niccolo Casewit, Paul Lopez, JoAnn Phillips, Mark Roggeman, Ben Romero and Kathy Sandoval
I know nothing about Antoinette Alire.
Niccolo Casewit is a politically active community member and architect with an agenda that could be summed up briefly as inclusive gentrification.
Paul Lopez is a SEIU organizer who defines the phrase ''community organizer.''
JoAnn Phillips appears to be a community member active in her Presybeterian church and local public meetings as a citizen, who is also a patron of the arts, but the name is fairly common, so this may not be accurate.
Mark Roggeman is a long time Denver police office and evangelical Christian who is active in Haven Ministries and has devoted himself to ministering to those entangled in cults.
Ben Romero is the Vice President of the Board of Adjustment in Denver, which handles zoning appeals. He is a Spanish speaking community leader.
Kathy Sandoval is a neighborhood activist who is a leader in the group "Safe Streets Now!" which trains citizens to define their neighborhood standards of conduct and provide them with tools to enforce these standands using the civil justice system. They accomplish this by working with neighbors to organize blocks, form teams with police and city officials, training residents to use small claims court, mediate and negotiate solutions.
Predictions In Open Races
In the following races, I have placed in bold the most likely candidates to win at this time, although both District 7 and District 8 are likely to produce run off elections, rather than being deciced in the first round of voting:
Clerk and recorder: Stephanie O'Malley and Jacob Werther
Stephanie O'Malley, while not strictly an incumbent in this newly created elected office, is the appointed clerk and recorder for Denver right now. She is an attorney who was previously director of the Department of Excise and Licsense, and serves on a number of organizational boards. She is also the daughter of former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb. Jacob Werther is the deputy public trustee in Denver.
District 7 (term limited incumbent Kathleen MacKenzie): Julie Connor, Chris Nevitt, Dennis Smith and Rochelle 'Shelly' Watters.
Chris Nevitt is a community activist has been planning this campaign for about a year, has the backing of much of the state level political establishment in the area, and works at a labor sponsored think tank. Conner and Watters, both of whom have experience as city council aides, are both strong candidates likely to make it into the second round, at least. Dennis Smith is a teacher at South High School who lost a city council race against MacKenzie.
District 8 (term limited incumbent Elbra Wedgeworth): Sharon Bailey, Carla Madison, Greg Rasheed and Darrell Watson
Darrell Watson is a former neighborhood association president, and a businessman who has been active in the community. Carla Madison, who is president of a neighborhood association, and Greg Rasheed, who is an executive director of a neighborhod association are strong candidates as well and are likely to make it into a runoff election. Sharon Bailey is director of policy and research in the Denver auditor's office.
Incumbents Will Prevail
I will boldly predict that all of the incumbents (marked with an (I) below) running this year will win their respective races, and will do so in the first round of voting.
Mayor: John Hickenlooper (I)* and Danny Lopez
Auditor: Dennis Gallagher (I) and Bill Wells
District 1: Rick Garcia (I)
District 2: Jeanne Faatz (I)
District 4: Ike Kelley, Peggy Lehmann (I) and William Rutherford III
District 5: Marcia Johnson (I), Mitchell Poindexter and Ronald "RJ" Ours
District 6: Charlie Brown (I)
District 9: Waldo Benavides and Judy Montero (I)
District 10: Jeanne Robb (I)
District 11: Michael Hancock (I)
At large: Carol Boigon (I), Carol Campbell and Doug Linkhart (I)
I give my best wishes to everyone committing themselves to these important campaigns.