DALLAS — After campaigning on an issue over which he has little control — education — newly elected Denver Mayor Michael Hancock will oversee major projects already under way in transportation and economic development as the city continues its recovery from the Great Recession.
Hancock, who had been a member of the City Council, easily defeated former JPMorgan investment banker and Colorado state Sen. Chris Romer in Tuesday’s runoff election with 58% of the vote. Both men are Democrats.
Romer, the son of former Gov. Roy Romer, has not announced whether he plans to return to politics or finance after the defeat.
When the results were conclusive, Romer appeared on stage with Hancock and offered his support for the new administration.
Hancock succeeds former Mayor John Hickenlooper, who won election as governor last fall.
With little disagreement over city issues, other than Hancock’s vote for a council pay raise, both candidates focused on the need to improve education, even though Denver Public Schools are governed by an independent board.
As an investment banker, Romer worked with DPS on school bond issues but disavowed any involvement in a complex swap deal designed to cover pension underfunding that ended up costing the district millions of dollars in swap-termination fees.
For the unified city and county of Denver, the major tasks involve balancing the budget and overseeing a $500 million expansion of Denver International Airport.
Over the past year, the City Council has trimmed costs for the South Terminal project designed to provide an airport hotel and station for a new commuter-rail line under construction by the Regional Transportation District.
The city and the RTD have been in recent disputes over responsibility for some of the project’s costs.