Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Is Brad Evans Cruising for a Bruising as a Candidate for Denver Mayor?

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"We're always serious about goofing about things that are important," explains Evans. This, after all, came from the man who'd read through the City of Denver's entire budget -- he found some questionable line items in the Wastewater section -- while recovering from knee surgery a year ago. This from the man who'd taken the Denver Cruiser Ride from thirteen friends and friends of friends who showed up for the initial gathering in 2005 to a weekly phenomenon that regularly attracts thousands of people -- 5,000 on the final ride of the fall, a turnout not much smaller than the number of registered voters in Denver between the ages of eighteen and forty who bothered to vote six weeks later in the November election.

And so even as Evans announced his joke campaign for mayor, he began considering launching a real one. "I spent the summer on the Cruiser Ride and people were saying, 'Hey, that would be cool,'" he recalls. "That's where we started talking about it." And when the rides ended for the season, he continued to talk about it with movers and shakers around town, some of them former supporters of Mayor Michael Hancock, some of them current Hancock supporters, and just about all of them agreeing on two things: A contested election is good for a city, because it encourages involvement and discussion -- and Evans doesn't have a shot in hell.

"Everyone says there's no chance, and why would you do something so crazy?" he says. "And I kind of like that."

He's certainly done crazy things before. Born and raised in Boulder, he got a BFA in painting and sculpture from the University of Arizona. After college, he hopped from city to city -- New York, San Francisco, L.A., Washington, D.C., even Kansas City. While working at Kinko's, he'd fax his résumé to the next city he was interested in seeing. "At my twentieth high-school reunion, I was the person who'd lived in the most places: twenty U.S. cities," he remembers.

But Colorado was home. He moved to Fort Collins in '93, then to Denver in '96. He worked at a great job in Boulder for three years, but the commute was crushing. Since then, he's stuck around Denver, doing work in graphic design and getting his real-estate license. And starting the Denver Cruisers.

That group has given him a real feel for an untapped constituency. "I see lots of young people here who want to engage," he says. "I see people from all over the planet coming to Denver, people who want to connect." To get them started, he posted an invitation to meet to discuss a potential candidacy on Facebook. A dozen people showed up last week, to talk about possible campaign proposals -- including raising the minimum wage and stopping the "I-70 ditch" proposal -- and hear some of Evans's strategy for actually winning. The pool of registered voters between the ages of eighteen and 44 in Denver is 143,495 (it would be almost twice as high if everyone registered); the total number of votes cast in the first round of the 2011 mayor's race was 114,895. Bottom line: "Is it possible to get 80,000 from this group to vote?"

And not just vote, but vote for Brad Evans.

"Am I the right person? I don't know," he says. "But why isn't anyone else stepping up?"

A couple people have stepped up: Chairman Seku, a frequent face at city meetings, and Marcus Giavanni, a write-in for governor last fall, are included alongside Hancock on the Denver Elections Divisions page of potential candidates. And a Denver Mayoral Election 2015 Wikipedia page lists three more "former or current candidates": Andy Juett, Ean Seeb and Kayvan Khalatbari. But last week Khalatbari, a cannabis consultant who's the founder of Sexy Pizza and Sexpot Comedy, declared that he's going for an at-large seat on Denver City Council, and any potential candidacies of the other two, both colleagues of Khalatbari, seem to have gone to pot.

But Evans is still considering it.

Continue for more on Brad Evans's possible mayoral race.
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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun