The race for Denver Mayor is getting hostile quickly. Yesterday, at a press conference announcing the endorsement of Chris Romer by former Denver Mayor Frederico Pena, staffers from Michael Hancock's campaign showed up and started heckling Pena.
There is a time and a place for trying to fluster your opponent. But there are two rules above all else that should be followed when employing that tactic:
- Don't send a paid staffer. Unless the opponent says something truly insane, the news story will be about your campaign staff behaving like jerks. That's not a good thing, especially when you are trying to claim the mantle of the clean, positive campaign.
- Don't do it at an event you'd like swept under the rug. The Pena endorsement was a major boost to Romer. Some even said it was the last important endorsement left in the race. Pena is popular with progressives and Hispanics, the two constituencies that the candidates are fighting over right now. You want less people to know about it, not more. The heckling just ensured way more people will hear about it.
While polls generally find Hancock to be the more personally likeable candidate, his campaign is quickly muddying that image. We thought his latest ad would be a real blow to the more typical, attack ad based strategy of Romer. Check it out after the jump, or by clicking here.
At the same time Hancock staffers are heckling Romer's endorsers, Romer is busy heckling Hancock over his "Big Bang Flip Flop." During a debate last week Hancock said he was for teaching creationism and intelligent design in school, but quickly retracted that statement as soon as his campaign staff could find a reporter to retract it to.
In an election dominated by urban progressives, Hancock's prevarications on a social issue like this are sure to give the liberal electorate some pause. Romer smelled blood in the water and his campaign and supporters have been pushing the story relentlessly. In a sign of how much it's begun to define the race, Westword's political cartoonist Kenny Be skewered Hancock ruthlessly over it today. Check it out here.
Only last week we thought Hancock had the momentum and better narrative in this race, but the latest tactical moves by both campaigns have re-jiggered this race. The runoff election, all mail-in just like the first round, is on June 7, so there is still time for the race to flip again. Keep checking back at the Peak for continuing coverage.