Across town this weekend, people were mourning the loss of Denver City Councilwoman Carla Madison, not just the council's most colorful representative, but also one of its active and involved, always appearing at community events, even as her cancer advanced. And now there will be an event in her honor on April 23, which would have been her 55th birthday: a party at 4 p.m. at the Museum of Nature & Science, after a bike ride that will start at 3 p.m. at Madison's council office at 2713 Welton Street.
But even as those plans are being finalized, the wheels are turning to replace Madison.
She was running unopposed in District 8, and the ballots, which go out this week, have already been printed. So after consulting Denver election laws, the city attorney's office determined that any votes cast for Madison will not be counted. In the meantime, anyone who wants to run as a write-in candidate for that seat must sign up with the Denver Clerk and Recorder's Office by next Monday. The requirements? A candidate must be at least 25 years old, have been a been a registered voter in Denver voter for two years, and have lived in District 8 -- which sprawls from parts of downtown to Five Points, West City Park and the western portion of Park Hill -- for at least a year.
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At least one candidate, Nita Henry -- the head of Kaleidescope who's served on numerous civic committees -- has announced plans to run. And other neighborhood activists are looking at throwing their hats in the ring. Quickly.
To win, a write-in candidate must get at least 50 percent of the vote -- not including any votes cast for Madison. If no one gets 50 percent, there will be a run-off, just as there will be in any of the other contested district elections. (In the at-large race, the two top vote-getters win the seats, whether or not they get 50 percent.) All ballots are due at the city by 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 3.
No matter who wins Madison's seat, that new rep will have colorful shoes to fill.
More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Gerald Whitman: If Denver Police chief goes, next mayor shouldn't ignore DPD candidates."