Vehicle-impound initiative organizer responds to win

Initiative 100, the Denver ballot measure that mandates that cops impound vehicles of unlicensed drivers, passed during last night’s primary with a relatively large margin of 54 percent to 46 percent.

The initiative’s backers, many of them with ties to anti-immigrant groups like the Colorado Minutemen, ran a surprisingly thrifty campaign, raising less than $11,000.

But the proposal’s success is even more shocking given its widespread criticism. It seemed like everyone from Mayor John Hickenlooper to the City Council to several Denver police unions to a coalition of faith leaders were decrying the proposal, which specifically mentioned "illegal aliens" as its target. The Committee to Defeat 100, organized by city councilmen Paul Lopez and Rick Garcia, raised $30,000 to convince voters of the initiative’s faults. But in the end, the group couldn’t cut it.

Last night, the anti-100 crowd threw an election party as the grim results rolled in, chronicled in last night’s live blog here. But Daniel Hayes, the organizer behind Initiative 100, proved unreachable, even as his proposal neared a clear win late last night. Turns out, Hayes was at "the spa," as he said in a message on my answering machine around 11 p.m. and was surprised by the number of calls he’d missed when he returned home. He said the following about the initiative in the message:

"People saw through all the journalistic trash in the Post and the News [both The Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post editorialized against the measure]. I think if it passes, it is a wonderful thing for the city and for the country to see that voters are passing stuff that’s being put out because they are looking at things with their own eyes and with their own safety in mind."