DALLAS — Chris Romer, a former investment banker, state senator and son of former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, will face City Council member Michael Hancock in a June 7 runoff for mayor of Denver, according to unofficial results from Tuesday’s election.
Romer, who led all fundraisers in the campaign with $1.4 million compared to Hancock’s less than $800,000, garnered the most votes with 28% to Hancock’s 27%. Former Denver School Board member James Mejia won 26%, according to the latest results.
Elected to the state Senate as a Democrat in 2006, Romer resigned last November to run for the open position of mayor after then-mayor John Hickenlooper won election as governor. He was an investment banker with JPMorgan Chase until late 2008 when he went to work as president of the Knowledge is Power Program charter school.
Before that, Romer worked for Smith Barney Harris Upham & Co., RBC Dain Rauscher and George K. Baum. Over the course of his career, he was involved in more than $10 billion of deals, including Denver International Airport, redevelopment of Union Station as part of the Regional Transportation District’s FasTracks system, and remodeling of the Denver Center for Performing Arts.
While at JPMorgan, Romer was the lead banker on bond deals that faced a grand jury investigation for pay-to-play allegations involving New Mexico’s then-Gov. Bill Richardson.
The probe ended without any action or charges. Romer himself was never accused of wrongdoing.
Despite Romer’s name recognition, Hancock proved successful in lining up impressive endorsements from business and civic leaders, including former Mayor Wellington Webb and former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway.
The next mayor will face a struggle balancing the city’s budget while presiding over some major bond projects.
The foremost of those is the construction of a new South Terminal at Denver International Airport that will include a hotel and rail depot for a new FasTracks commuter line from downtown Union Station.