From left: Denver mayoral candidate Kelly Brough is congratulated by well-wishers during an election eve watch party late Tuesday in north Denver. Denver mayoral candidate Mike Johnston autographs yard signs for the children of his supporters before entering an election eve watch party in a hotel in lower downtown Denver. (David Zalubowski, AP Photo)

Former state Sen. Mike Johnston and former Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce CEO Kelly Brough will advance to a June 6 runoff election that will determine who will be Denver’s mayor for the next four years.

Johnston received 41,926 votes, or 24%, to Brough’s 34,375 votes, or 20%, results posted through 2 p.m. Thursday show.

Lisa Calderón finished third in the field of 16 candidates, with 18%, about 3,200 votes behind Brough. 

Just over 174,000 votes were tallied in the last update released by by Denver elections officials. About 2,400 ballots still haven’t been tabulated, but even if all of them were for Calderón she wouldn’t be able to overcome Brough’s lead. Denver elections workers will work until April 12 on curing ballots with signature problems and other discrepancies, with results finalized on April 20.

Mayoral and City Council candidates running in districts needed to receive more than 50% of the vote to win outright in Tuesday’s municipal election. Four council contests are also going to be decided in the June 6 runoff.

Either Johnston or Brough will succeed Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, who is term-limited after serving three four-year terms. The mayor is the top administrator for a combined city and county government that employs 11,000 people. The position will pay nearly $206,000.

The 13-member City Council serves as a legislative body, though members are full-time positions with staff to help serve their constituents.

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State Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez and Sarah Parady will join the council in July to represent the entire city as at-large members. Gonzales Gutierrez received 52,486 votes, and Parady received 42,364 in the nine-way contest for the two at-large seats. Parody’s total is likely out of reach of third-place finisher Penfield Tate, who received 39,825 votes.

There is no runoff in the at-large City Council races. 

Seven other council candidates received the 50% needed to be elected without a runoff.

The four City Council contests that will be decided in the runoff are:

  • Incumbent Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca will face Darrell Watson in the District 9 race. Outside groups spent more than $78,000 opposing CdeBaca, who was endorsed by the Denver Democratic Socialists of America and the Colorado Working Families Party. CdeBaca had 44% of the vote to Watson’s 43%.
  • Incumbent Chris Hinds will face a runoff against Shannon Hoffman for his District 10 seat after receiving 36% of the vote. Hoffman, also endorsed by Denver Democratic Socialists of America and the Colorado Working Families Party, received 27%.
  • Flor Alvidrez is certain to make the runoff for the open District 7 seat with 38% of the vote. Nick Campion is her likely challenger, with 19% of the vote.
  • Shontel Lewis will face Brad Revare for the open District 8 seat. Lewis also was endorsed by the Denver Democratic Socialists of America and the Colorado Working Families Party. Revare was supported by super PACS supporting more moderate candidates. Lewis received 36% of the vote to Revare’s 34%. 

When the results are official, a final round of money will be distributed through the city’s Fair Elections Fund, which matches donations of $50 and less nine times. Candidates in the runoff will receive an additional payment amounting to 25% of the money they received before Tuesday’s election.

That means Brough will receive $187,500 and Johnston will receive $153,385. 

Brough and Johnston were the top fundraisers among the 16 mayoral candidates. They also benefited from outside spending by super PACs trying to convince voters to elect them.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

Correction: This story was updated at 8:15 a.m. to include the correct the salary for the next mayor.

Sandra Fish

Special to The Colorado Sun Twitter: @fishnette