If you hurry, you can start your day with a helping of Chris Romer. The man who led the voting after the first round of the Denver mayor's race yesterday will be at Market Street Station at 7:30 a.m. -- the first stop in what he's calling his "Good morning, Denver" tour. And at 11 a.m., he'll star in a press conference focusing on his first steps as mayor. Says deputy campaign manager Zach Knauss, "It's full steam ahead."
At this writing, James Mejia, who finished the vote in third position, just a whisper behind second-place finisher Michael Hancock, has yet to concede. But that's not going to slow down Romer. "It doesn't matter who it is," Knaus maintains. "We're ready to move on to the next round."
Turnout for the initial balloting wasn't exactly off the charts, perhaps due to the enormous slate of hopefuls -- ten at the outset, with Carol Boigon dropping out along the way. Now that just two will be moving forward, "there should be some more participation by the voters," Knaus believes. "I think we'll get into the issues a little deeper -- and now that the choices are defined a bit more, it should be easier for people to decide."
There's a sense among political insiders that Mejia's constituency may be more naturally inclined toward Hancock than Romer, but Knaus says, "I don't know if that's necessarily true. I think they'll have a choice, and if they want a candidate who can bring jobs to Denver, a very clear choice -- and that's Chris."
Clarity has been a hallmark of the Romer campaign. Although some of his critics see him as scattershot, going in too many directions simultaneously, he's stayed on message well during the run-up to the runoff. "Jobs is key," Knaus stresses, "and also government efficiency and cutting red tape. But it's really important to get people back to work, and keeping the jobs that are here now."
Of course, money has spoken loudly as well. Romer and Hancock arguably had the strongest, largest organizations among all the candidates. But Knaus believes "a lot of people decided on Chris and Michael based on some of their issues."
Romer also has major name recognition thanks to his father, former Governor Roy Romer, who inspired the "Good morning, Denver" tour notion. "His dad did an 'oatmeal tour' -- having breakfast with Denver voters -- and we're doing the same kind of thing," Knaus notes. "Each morning, Chris's plan is to meet with Denver voters."
And hope they can nudge him above the 50 percent he'll need to win the mayor's race once and for all.
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