A side-by-side photo of Mike Johnston and Kelly Brough
Denver mayoral candidates Mike Johnston, left, and Kelly Brough. (File photos)

Ballots are in the mail for Denver’s June 6 mayoral runoff between former Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce CEO Kelly Brough and former state Sen. Mike Johnston.

The winner will be the first new Denver mayor in 12 years as term-limited Denver Mayor Michael Hancock steps down after his third and final term. 

Denver voters have until 7 p.m. on Election Day to cast their ballots. 

Ballots can be mailed back to the Denver clerk and recorder’s office through May 30. After that, you should return your ballot at one of the city’s ballot drop boxes or voter service centers — find one here — to ensure it is received in time to be counted. 

We’ve put together the guide below to help you learn more about Brough and Johnston who advanced to the runoff

Johnston received the most votes, followed by Brough, in the 16-candidate Denver municipal election in April, but because neither received more than 50% of the votes cast they advanced to the June 6 runoff. Their names appear in alphabetical order on the runoff ballot.

The guide includes recordings of what the candidates’ Denver International Airport train greetings might sound like if they are elected, as well as videos of their interviews with students at Metropolitan State University of Denver as part of an effort to boost civic engagement on the campus.

Mike Johnston

YouTube video

Bio: Mike Johnston is a former state senator. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2018 and for U.S. Senate in 2020. He’s a former school teacher and principal. He most recently served president and CEO of Gary Community Ventures, a philanthropic nonprofit active in promoting statewide ballot initiatives to increase taxes on tobacco and nicotine products and fund affordable housing projects.

Voter registration: Democratic

Website: mikejohnstonformayor.com

Candidate-submitted platform: I’m running for mayor to fix Denver’s toughest challenges. 

My top priorities are:

  • Affordable housing: We need to take immediate action to make sure our nurses, police officers, firefighters and workers who serve our city can afford to live here. I have committed to the most ambitious housing plan of anyone in the race, with a fully funded plan to build 25,000 permanently affordable housing units, expanding home ownership through more down payment assistance to help Denverites buy homes and build wealth.
  • Ending homelessness: We have a moral obligation to ensure every resident has safe, stable, dignified housing. As mayor, I will build 10-20 micro-communities composed of 1,400 tiny homes throughout the city for unsheltered Denverites, which will include wraparound services like mental health and addiction care. I’ll make sure the city takes a compassionate approach to ending homelessness without sacrificing the safety of our public spaces.
  • Public safety: I will implement a smart, fair and compassionate public safety plan that will restore civility and protect our neighborhoods by enforcing common-sense approaches to crime and investing in ensuring our first responders are community-focused. This includes putting 200 more first responders on the street and adding an auto theft unit to the Denver Police Department.

>> Watch Johnston’s interview with 9News

Top endorsers:

  • Former Denver Mayor Federico Peña
  • Lisa Calderón, executive director of Emerge Colorado, which trains women to run for office, and a former 2023 Denver mayoral candidate
  • State Rep. Leslie Herod, a former 2023 Denver mayoral candidate
  • Former 2023 Denver mayoral candidates Ean Thomas Tafoya, Terrance Roberts, Al Gardner and Jim Walsh
  • Former Colorado House Speaker Terrance Carroll
  • Former Colorado Senate President Peter Groff
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 18

Johnston’s airport greeting:

Kelly Brough

YouTube video

Bio: Kelly Brough is a former policy analyst for Denver City Council, chief of staff to John Hickenlooper when he was mayor, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and chief strategy officer at Metropolitan State University of Denver. If elected, she would be Denver’s first woman mayor.

Voter registration: Democratic

Website: kellybrough.com

Candidate-submitted platform: I love Denver and I believe in the promise it holds. Unfortunately, we’re not realizing that promise today. The challenges facing Denver are real and urgent. I will focus on solving those challenges to restore the quality of life Denver residents expect and deserve. My experiences — professional and personal — have prepared me to lead this city, in this moment and address these issues. 

My top three priorities are:

  • Community safety: Work with our public safety officials to create a stronger culture built around national best practices, transparency and accountability. Recruit and retain more officers to the force, particularly women and people of color, to fill our current levels of authorized strength and expand co-responder and STAR programs. Address the drivers of crime to improve safety throughout Denver. 
  • Homelessness: End unsanctioned encampments in my first year in office by building more shelters and housing. Work with cities and counties throughout our region to strengthen data systems and make smart decisions about where to invest resources.
  • Housing: Build for-sale housing on city-owned property, incentivize the transition of vacant office space to residential units and increase density along major transportation corridors and by empowering homeowners to develop accessory-dwelling units, or “granny flats.” Change the city’s approach to development review.

>> Watch Brough’s interview with 9News

Top endorsers:

  • Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife, Wilma, a former state representative
  • Former Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat
  • Democratic state Sen. Chris Hansen, former 2023 Denver mayoral candidate
  • University of Colorado Regent Wanda James, a Democrat and small business owner
  • The Denver Police Protective Association
  • Denver Firefighters Local 858

Brough’s airport greeting:

Denver City Council runoffs

There will also be three Denver City Council runoff elections on June 6. They are:

  • District 8 in northeast Denver, where Brad Revare, who leads Colorado Succeeds, a nonprofit business coalition, faces Shontel Lewis, a former member of the RTD board 
  • District 9 in north-central Denver, where incumbent Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca faces Darrell Watson, a member of the Housing Stability Strategic Advisors board 
  • District 10 in central Denver, where incumbent Councilman Chris Hinds faces Shannon Hoffman, a political newcomer whose background is in activism and nonprofits

Note: There was supposed to be a runoff in District 7, but candidate Nick Campion dropped out of the contest, handing a de facto victory to Flor Alvidrez, a small business owner.

How much does Denver’s mayor make?

Denver’s mayor is paid more than $188,000 and council members, who are on one of the most powerful government bodies in the state, make nearly $97,000.

More voter information

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