Chris Romer campaign thinks mayor's race vs. Michael Hancock closer than polls suggest

It's election day for mayoral candidates Michael Hancock and Chris Romer. But even though a recent Survey USA poll showed Hancock with a 10 percent lead, Romer spokesperson Laura Chapin thinks the actual race is "a lot closer. Remember, this is the same pollster that found Andrew Romanoff leading Michael Bennet going into the final week" of the 2010 Democratic Senate primary, "and then Bennet won by eight and a half."

Does the fact that the mayoral runoff election is of the mail-in variety -- meaning people have to drop off ballots at polling stations today in order for them to count -- change the equation?

"Getting out the vote is getting out the vote," Chapin says. "It's the same in any election in terms of identifying people who support you and getting them to vote, whatever the mechanism for voting happens to be. And I have to tell you, the level of activity has been amazing.

"Chris has been out knocking on doors, Chris's brother, Tom, has been out knocking on doors, Laurie [Chris's wife] has been out knocking on doors and making phone calls -- she was on the dialer three hours one night. Roy [the former governor, and Chris's dad] is 82-years-old, and he's been knocking on doors. And our political director, Rebecca Oniveros-Chavez, took the LSATs yesterday morning -- and then she came in and knocked on 115 doors yesterday afternoon."

Chapin senses rising enthusiasm among Romer supporters as the finish line nears.

"It's definitely picked up," she maintains. "I think people are realizing there's an actual choice here -- that there's someone with the experience and the knowledge to deal with a $100 million budget deficit and a city that needs jobs. They realize Chris has the substance and the judgment to be a good mayor, and to actually do it in a way that's practical and workable."

What about the perception that Romer has run a negative campaign, exemplified by ads spotlighting Hancock's vote for a city council pay raise? Chapin's take: "As Federico Peña said, questioning a public official on a public policy issue on a public vote on something that impacts Denver's budget on a day-to-day basis is absolutely appropriate, absolutely legitimate. And frankly, we should have raised that issue with voters. Voters need to know that Michael Hancock picked a pay raise over Denver's libraries and parks and firefighters. It's that simple."

Chapin doesn't offer a prediction about the outcome. "I can only say what we're doing -- which is absolutely working as hard as we can. I know it's a cliché, but we're leaving it all out on the field."

More from our Politics archive: "Chris Romer: A Denver mayor's race profile."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
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