Denver mayor's race a mystery to those who aren't paying attention -- and those who are

I started the day chatting on a plane from Tucson with a local bar manager, who had no idea who to vote for in the upcoming Denver election, because he just hadn't been paying attention. I ended it chatting with my poker group, most of whom had no idea who to vote for in the upcoming Denver election, either.

But the players were confused because they'd been paying so much attention -- attending mayoral debates, poring over the interviews.

Nine mayoral candidates, a handful of at-large candidates (one of whom I spotted knocking on doors on South Josephine Street as I headed to the game), candidates for assorted other offices -- it's led to information overload. And don't get me started, again, on District 8, which has 39 write-in nominees all vying for Carla Madison's Denver City Council seat. (The first of three forums for those District 8 candidates is set for 6:45 p.m. tonight at Scott United Methodist Church, 2880 Garfield Street.) As the poker players noted, while each of the mayoral candidates has a few good cards on his or her platform, no one seems to have a winning hand.

If it's tough for voters to wade through all of this, consider the job of those long-distance runners, the mayoral candidates who've campaigned for months, knocked on doors across town and attended close to fifty debates (including one downtown-oriented debate I moderated last Thursday). And here we are, one week from the May 3 election, with many potential voters still not paying attention -- while those who have still can't make up their minds.

All of which means that the candidate who can figure out how to grab the public's attention, who can convince people to place their votes by 7 p.m. next Tuesday, can still win this very slow horse race -- even if few people know the names of the nags.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Bill Vidal makes good on his promise to clean up the Denver Police Department."

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