VIDEO: Mayors race getting uglier by the day

The contest between Chris Romer and Michael Hancock for mayor of Denver is getting to the point where Tom Tancredo may need to step in and mediate.

Tuesday as former mayor Federico Pena was announcing his endorsement of Chris Romer at a press conference, he and others were interrupted by Hancock supporters, at least one of whom–Kendra Sandoval–was a paid staffer.

In response, two former mayoral candidates have written letters of protest. James Mejia wrote to Hancock, while Theresa Spahn sent a letter out to Romer supporters.

Mejia’s letter:

Dear Michael:

For the second time in as many weeks, members of your campaign staff and supporters showed up at press conferences that I organized. In the first press conference, I announced my endorsement of Chris Romer for Mayor while representatives of your campaign, including at least three paid staff members, stood in the audience in my campaign office and another representative stood in the front row with the media. All representatives wore Hancock buttons.

Yesterday, as Federico Peña endorsed Chris Romer for Mayor at another press conference, at least one Hancock staff member and at least two other supporters attended the press conference. This time your staff member interrupted our press conference attacking Chris Romer regarding an ad that highlights your decision to vote in favor of a City Council pay raise which she claimed is negative campaigning. One of your supporters also interrupted the press conference with a similar comment.

The irony of their comments regarding negative campaigning is that I consider their attempts at intimidation and interrupting our press conference to be negative campaigning itself.

I have a few questions for you:

Have you authorized your staff to attend my press conferences and those of Chris Romer?

If you have authorized their attendance, have you authorized the interruption of our events?

Do you consider interrupting an opponent’s press conference to be negative campaigning?

Do you consider attempts at intimidation at my events to be negative campaigning?

I am proud to have had very positive relationships with the staffs of all other campaigns. I haven’t held it against you that some of your supporters have been offensive in expressing their dissatisfaction with my decision to support Chris Romer. I realize that they may not speak for your campaign.

However, these latest actions of intimidation by your staff are inappropriate and as their employer, I feel you are accountable for their actions and that they represent your sentiment and campaign. I look forward to hearing from you.


James Mejia

From Spahn’s letter:

Michael Hancock’s actions in the last few weeks are unacceptable, and he has shown time and again a lack of judgment under pressure.

Last week, a prominent Hancock surrogate called both James Mejia and me and our supporters losers after we announced our support of Chris Romer for Mayor.

Yesterday, it got worse.

A senior Hancock staffer and other Hancock supporters came to our press conference with Secretary Federico Peña. During his endorsement of Chris Romer, they heckled and interrupted Secretary Peña.

You heard that right. A paid Hancock staffer interrupted a press conference to disrespect and heckle the former Mayor of Denver who served in not one but two cabinet positions under President Clinto

It is hard to say where the trouble between the two began, but this ad from Romer seems to have set off the most recent round.

Hancock posted a response to the Romer ad on his website, and then released an ad of his own:

Wednesday, during a debate, Hancock and Romer actually discussed the squabble, with Hancock noting he had apologized to Pena for the flare up, but when Romer asked him what he had done about it in terms of his handling of Sandoval, Hancock said that was none of Romer’s business.

See that mix-it-up here:

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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