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Challengers gearing up for 2019 Denver mayoral fray

Author: Adam McCoy - April 12, 2018 - Updated: April 16, 2018

Kayvan KhalatbariDenver ex-mayoral candidate Kayvan Khalatbari. (Photo courtesy Kayvan for Denver campaign)

Denver’s next mayoral election — which isn’t until May 2019 — should shape up to be an intriguing one with candidates vying to unseat an arguably vulnerable incumbent.

One of those candidates, Kayvan Khalatbari, 34, has seemed to gain some early momentum, announcing Wednesday his campaign has already hit six figures in the campaign contributions department. Of 334 contributions, totaling $101,059.65, to the Khalatbari campaign in the first quarter of 2018, 117, or 35 percent, were donations of less than $50, according to a statement from the campaign.

“This campaign is about a movement, building broad coalitions, and having important conversations about what matters to the people of Denver,” Khalatbari said in a statement. “I’m humbled that so many people are participating in this process as we work together to maintain Denver as a city that feels like home.”

Khalatbari is well-known in Denver for his “socially responsible” businesses including Sexy Pizza, Denver Relief Consulting and Birdy Magazine and his advocacy for the arts, cannabis and homelessness.

He sits on the boards of the Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestra, Harm Reduction Action Center and Minority Cannabis Business Association and co-chairs the Alternative Solutions Advocacy Project committee responsible for Denver’s first tiny home village.

In a February interview, Khalatbari told Westword, “I love this city. It’s given me everything I have in my career, friendships, love life and community organizing — Denver afforded me all of those opportunities. But the longer that I do business and [live] in this city, I realize the detriment this city is placing on the people that I care about. I can’t sit by and watch it anymore.”

Marcus Giavanni, 58, who characterizes himself as one of the “hottest unsigned vocalists in the 1980s,” according to Denverite, has also filed paperwork to run for the mayor’s office.

Meanwhile, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, 48, is eyeing a third term in office and reported ending 2016 with $263,000 in his war chest, according to the Denver Post. He ran essentially unopposed in 2015 with no serious challengers, but 2019 could prove tougher with potentially strong opponents, questions about his relationship with the development community in the face of a gentrified Denver and a suggestive text message scandal hanging over a 2019 mayoral campaign.

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy covers Denver-area politics for Colorado Politics.