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Advancing Denver and The Mayoral Runoff Election

The 2023 Denver mayoral runoff election was going to be a hotly contested race. Five candidates received at least 10,000 votes in the initial round of voting, and none surpassed 25% of the vote. Advancing Denver, an independent expenditure supporting Mike Johnston,

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was focused on filling gaps they believed the official campaign might overlook in the final week before Election Day.


To do that, we constructed a live ID program that focused on three pieces:

● Targeting demographics that historically vote at lower rates and can be challenging to reach via volunteer efforts.

○ That included voters under 44, people of color, and voters who don’t often participate in city or local elections.

● Pushing a progressive, persuasive message.

● Relaying the various ways supporters could still vote, even after mail voting was no longer a viable option.


Considering that many of the demographics we targeted were less likely to have a landline, we focused our efforts on voters with cell phones. Our script touched quickly on some of Mike’s previous efforts as a state senator - helping to pass landmark gun control legislation - and his plans to address the homelessness crisis in the city, before asking who the person planned to vote for.


If they supported Mike, we then gave them their voting options, which included bringing their completed ballot to a drop box or voting in person at a voting center. If they were unsure who they planned to vote for, we provided them with information about Mike’s opponent, who had worked as a lobbyist for special interests, including the oil and gas industry.


After delivering our message to over 38,000 voters and providing crucial voting information to over 10,000 supporters, Johnston won a sound victory with over 55% of the vote.

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