Johnston, Brough advance to mayoral runoff in Denver

Michael Johnston and Kelly Brough were the top-two finishers in the nonpartisan general election for mayor of Denver, Colorado on April 4. They received 24% and 20% of the vote, respectively. Since no candidate received a majority of the vote, Johnston and Brough will head to a runoff on June 6.

There were 16 candidates on the ballot and six write-in candidates, the largest mayoral field in Denver’s history. Ahead of the election, no candidate had polled above 10%.

While the race is officially nonpartisan, both candidates are Democrats.

Johnston was a state senator from 2009 to 2017. In 2018, he ran for governor, placing third in the Democratic primary.

Brough was chief of staff to former Mayor John Hickenlooper from 2003 to 2009, after which she was the C.E.O. of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce until 2021.

Denverite‘s Kyle Harris described Johnston and Brough as “centrist candidates … [who] cleaved toward the middle, offering an optimistic vision while gently pushing for using policing in their homelessness solutions.”

The two candidates led in fundraising by the end of the general election, accounting for just under 40% of all dollars raised in the race.

Brough led with $1.4 million raised as of March 29, followed by Johnston with $1.3 million.

Both candidates also benefitted from satellite spending on their behalf. A Better Denver, an organization affiliated with Brough, spent $984,284 supporting her campaign. Advancing Denver, affiliated with Johnston, spent $2.2 million on his behalf.

This is Denver’s fifth open mayoral election since 1959. Incumbent Michael Hancock, first elected in 2011, is term-limited.