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Denver Mayor Hancock building war chest for 2019 re-election bid

Author: Adam McCoy - July 16, 2018 - Updated: July 17, 2018

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, center, stands with former Rep. Bob Beauprez, left, and Colorado Republican Committee Chairman Ryan Call, during a news conference at which the three discussed Denver’s bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention, at City Hall in downtown Denver Monday in 2014. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Michael Hancock’s campaign to retain the Denver mayor’s office is outpacing challengers in fundraising and spending, according to city quarterly campaign finance reports.

Monday was the deadline for second quarter finance reports to be filed with Denver’s Elections Division detailing municipal campaign contributions and spending from April 1 to June 30. The reports also provide a glimpse at the candidates’ war chests heading into the 2019 mayoral race.

Eyeing a third term in office, Hancock, 48, entered the second quarter with $402,298 in cash on hand, having raised $171,452 and spent $41,353 during the second quarter. That leaves Hancock’s war chest at $532,397. Overall, Hancock has raised $528,454 in funds and spent $256,727 over the course of the election cycle.

“Mayor Hancock is grateful for the support from so many people all across the city who are joining with us to keep Denver’s progress going,” Hancock campaign spokesperson Jake Martin said in an email statement. “Our focus remains on extending Denver’s economic successes to everyone in every corner of the city, while protecting the history, culture and character of our neighborhoods.”

Hancock ran essentially unopposed for his office in 2015. But 2019 could prove tougher, with potentially stronger opponents, questions about his relationship with the development community in the face of a gentrified Denver, and a suggestive text-message scandal hanging over his campaign.

Meanwhile, challenger Kayvan Khalatbari, 34, began the second quarter with $38,173 in cash on hand. He added $101,234 and spent $46,658 during the second quarter, bringing his current war chest total to $92,748. Overall, Khalatbari has raised $202,293 and spent $109,545 this election cycle.

Despite Hancock showing a sizable lead in campaign contributions and spending, Khalatbari — who is known for his “socially responsible” Denver businesses including Sexy Pizza and Birdy Magazine, and his advocacy for the arts, cannabis and the homeless — believes his campaign is “showing momentum.” Khalatbari was the first mayoral challenger to raise $100,000 in campaign contributions in the election cycle.

“I think we’re showing this is a viable campaign,” Khalatbari said in an email statement to Colorado Politics.

“Not only is it viable, it’s already effective in terms of putting pressure on an incumbent to out-raise us after we out-raised him in Q1. And, you might have noticed, his (Hancock’s) latest policy priorities look a lot like what has been on for the last seven months. I am excited about the months ahead and look forward to continuing to talk about issues important to Denver and build on our momentum.”

Other candidates for mayor — including Kalyn Heffernan, Ken Simpson, Marcus Giavanni and Stephen Evans (also known as Chairman Seku) — had not filed quarterly campaign finance reports with the city as of Monday.

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy covers Denver-area politics for Colorado Politics.