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Denver mayoral candidates make final push ahead of Tuesday's election

Mike Johnston and Kelly Brough say experience sets them apart
Posted at 4:25 PM, Jun 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-05 23:47:22-04

DENVER — Voters will elect a new mayor in the runoff election on Tuesday.

As the race winds down, both candidates Kelly Brough and Mike Johnston are spending the final hours hoping to persuade undecided voters.

“I think people continue to be optimistic about the future of their city. And with the right leadership, what we can do together. I'm excited about it myself,” said Brough. “This election is so important. I do believe our city's at a crossroads where we either continue on the path we're on or we turn.”

Brough and her supporters held up signs at 6th and Broadway on Monday.

Kelly Brough and supporters at 6th and Broadway Monday.
Kelly Brough and supporters at 6th and Broadway Monday.

Brough is a former chamber president and was chief of staff to then-Mayor John Hickenlooper. She also ran the city's human resources department. She says that experience sets her apart.

“I know the city and I know on day one, I can begin the work to address the challenges we face,” said Brough. “I think that's a huge difference. But I also think you're going to see I'm the only candidate who's reached out to the region to partner together. I think these challenges we can't do alone.”

Johnston spent part of his day knocking on doors with his daughter, Ava, in Central Park.

“Always the combination of excitement and energy and a little bit of nervousness,” said Johnston. “You just always run as hard as you can all the way through the final day, so we are hitting as many doors as we can in these last 24 hours.”

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Mike Johnston and campaign volunteers pose for a picture in Central Park on Monday.

Johnston agrees experience sets him and Brough apart, but he says his experience as a former teacher, high school principal and state senator gives him the advantage.

“I think there's a big difference in terms of the work we've done over the last two decades,” said Johnston. “Every one of my jobs has been focused on how we help families in Denver and Colorado get access to opportunity, whether that's education, whether that's mental health, whether that's housing. I think that's different.”

Brough and Johnston have spent weeks listening to voters’ concerns across the city and sharing their ideas on how to deal with Denver’s biggest challenges, from homelessness to education to crime.

In the home stretch of a long, stressful campaign, they’re making their final push, hoping to carve a path to victory.

As of Monday, more than 89,000 ballots have been cast, according to data from the Denver Elections Division. About 43% of the ballots that have been returned are from voters age 65 and older. Another 5,000 ballots are being processed.

Voters can return ballots to 24-hour drop boxes, which are located throughout the city. They can also visit a voter center on Tuesday.

Ballots must be returned to the Denver Elections Division by 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

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