History Says Denver Runoff Could be Without Surprise

Denver’s municipal runoff election is just four weeks away, but with only three contested races yet to be decided (city council districts 3, 7 and 8), this runoff will be decidedly less active than the 2003 version.

In the Denver runoff election, the top two vote-getters in the general election (held on May 1) face off for a few more weeks of campaigning set to end on June 5. A runoff election is avoided if the winning candidate in the general election receives more than 50 percent of the vote, which happened in all but the three city council races previously mentioned.

A runoff election may be a good way to narrow down the field of candidates for a final choice, but if recent history is any indication, the candidate with the most votes in the general election will likely end up winning outright in the runoff.In May 2003, eight city races were close enough to force a runoff election. In six of those eight races, the candidate with the most votes in the general election went on to win in the runoff.

Take a look at the 2003 results (the first number indicates that candidates general election vote percentage, while the second number is the percentage the candidate received in the runoff):

John Hickenlooper: 43/65
Don Mares: 22/35

Dennis Gallagher: 31/52
Ed Thomas: 26/48

City Council District 1
Timber Dick: 36/43
Rick Garcia: 35/57

City Council District 3
Don Sandoval: 37/47
Rosemary Rodriguez: 32/53

City Council District 5
Marcia Johnson: 31/50.2
Marcus Pachner: 27/49.8

City Council District 9
Judy Montero: 31/57
Veronica Barela: 24/43

City Council District 10
Jeanne Robb: 48/57
Caroline Schomp: 36/43

City Council District 11
Michael Hancock: 44/64
Jon Bowman: 20/37

As you can see, only two candidates came from behind to win in the runoff election – Rick Garcia in District 1 and Rosemary Rodriguez in District 3

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