DenverElection 2019Hot Sheet

Another candidate emerges for Denver mayor

Author: Mark Harden - October 15, 2018 - Updated: October 15, 2018

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Add another name to the list of people who want to be Denver’s next mayor.

Lisa Calderón says she plans to launch a campaign for mayor in the May 2019 election.

Calderón, 50, is a criminal justice professor at Denver’s Regis University and co-chair of the Colorado Latino Forum.

Lisa Calderon,co-chair of the Colorado Latino Forum Denver Chapter, addresses a small crowd of supporters at a rally Monday afternoon on the steps of the Denver City-County building. Caldron’s group, along with the Denver Justice Project and others, rallied for the passage of a Denver City Council ordinance placing a ballot question before city voters that would make the Office of the Independent Monitor part of the city charter. The effort is aimed at giving authority to the office, similar to other city departments. Photo by Mike McKibbin/Colorado Statesman
Lisa Calderón, co-chair of the Colorado Latino Forum Denver Chapter, speaks at a 2016 rally on the steps of the Denver City & County Building. (Mike McKibbin/Colorado Politics-file)

She will join attorney and former state legislator Penfield Tate III among several candidates in the race, which is also expected to include current Mayor Michael Hancock in a bid for a third term.

> RELATED: Penfield Tate: Denver’s poor planning drove him to run for mayor

Calderón, whose candidacy had been anticipated, says she plans to formally announce her run Wednesday at a City Park event.

“I believe the time has come to elect a mayor who will set a new direction for Denver by creating a more affordable, accountable and humane city, where every voice matters,” she said in a press statement Monday.

“Quite simply, it’s time for a new vision and new leadership where the principles of equity, fairness and justice are the touchstones by which we measure a great city,” she said.

Calderón has frequently sparred with Hancock over housing, police policy, gentrification and other issues, and in March was among those calling for the mayor to step down after reports emerged that he sent racy text messages to a member of his security unit.

In April, she sued Hancock when her nonprofit assisting city prisoners after their release, the Community Reentry Project, lost its city contract. She alleged the action was in retaliation against her, an accusation that the Hancock administration denied.

She tells Westword that she split with Hancock early in his tenure as mayor over what she considered over-aggressive policing in her Cole neighborhood:

“[Hancock] emphatically said he would do something [before being elected]. But then, under his reign as mayor, he accelerated the aggressive policing. That’s when I realized that a black mayor wasn’t going to save us. This is a guy who will say one thing to your face, but when he ascends to power he’ll do something else. He didn’t need us once he had his power structure in place. So I have been opposing him ever since.”

Besides Tate, other candidates who have already filed to run in the May election for mayor are Stephan Elliot Evans (a.k.a.  Chairman Seku), Mark “Marcus” Giavanni, Kalyn Rose Heffernan and Kenneth Simpson.

Businessman Kayvan Khalatbari announced Oct. 3 that he was dropping out of the race for personal reasons, citing his family and health, although as of Monday he had not yet withdrawn his candidacy filing, according to the Denver Elections Division website.

> RELATED: As one candidate enters Denver’s mayoral race, another drops out

Hancock has not yet filed as a candidate but is widely expected to run again.

Mark Harden

Mark Harden

Mark Harden is managing editor of Colorado Politics. He previously was news director at the Denver Business Journal; city editor, online news editor, state editor, national editor and popular music critic at The Denver Post; and an editor and reporter at newspapers in the Seattle area and San Francisco.