Editor’s Note: After the May 7 election, five City Council races were too close to call and are headed to a runoff. In districts 1, 3, 5, 9 and 10, no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote and the top two vote-getters will square off on June 4. To learn more about the candidates and issues in those districts, use our guide below.
Denver’s municipal elections are as colorful as the city itself. Every four years, residents are asked to vote for who should be mayor, county clerk, auditor, and serve on the 13-member City Council. Only 24 percent of eligible voters turned out in Denver’s 2015 municipal election, but national interest in local politics has been revived since the 2016 presidential upset, and the Mile High City is no exception. This year, there are six candidates running for mayor—including the two-term Mayor Michael B. Hancock—and 40-plus candidates vying for 13 spots in the city council race, which covers 11 districts plus two at-large seats.
When we first started reporting on the 2019 local elections, we sought to capture each district’s unique characteristics and challenges. But we quickly understood that each district was facing its own distinct manifestations of the same larger issues at hand: Affordable Housing. Homelessness. Mobility, transportation, and traffic. These mammoth issues are problems for current City Council members—and will remain so for councilors to come. And if you think the governing body is more perfunctory than it is powerful, think again.
City Council members are elected by their constituents—each of the 11 districts is equally populated—and, as public servants, they ultimately make important decisions that affect the everyday life of Denverites. They approve new building plans, determine how we’re able to move around the city, decide how city funds are allocated (including increasing the salary for themselves and all other city employees), regulate your public use of cannabis, ensure maintenance of parks, work with other local agencies to ensure quality of air, water, and food, and generally consider new laws to govern the city.
Here is an overview of Denver’s 2019 City Council races, by the district.
Not sure what district you live in? Find out here.