Carla Madison is still on ballot, with two dozen eyeing her empty Denver City Council seat

Thumbnail image for carla madison photo.jpg
Carla Madison
Denver ballots arrived in mailboxes across town this past weekend -- and those that went to residents of District 8 still include the name of incumbent councilwoman Carla Madison, who was running unopposed when she passed away on April 5, after the ballots for this all mail-in election were printed. So now, residents of District 8 will choose from at least two dozen write-in candidates... and counting, since that field won't be set until the end of today.

The deadline for a write-in candidate to register with the Denver Elections Division is 6 p.m. Already, more than twenty people have submitted a notarized affidavit affirming that they meet the qualifications: a resident of Denver for two years, a resident of District 8 for one, and at least 25 years of age.

Unless one of those candidates gets more than 50 percent of the ballots cast for city council in District 8 (votes for Madison will not be counted in that total, as dictated by state law), the two top finishers will move on to a run-off race on June 17. On that date, voters citywide will be choosing between the two top vote-getters in the mayoral race -- unless one of those candidates manages to get more than 50 percent of the votes cast. But with ten candidates in that crowded race, a quick victory is unlikely.

The outcome of the demolition derby in District 8 is less certain; a big get-out-the-vote campaign could take it the seat with a handful of votes. That's why longtime neighborhood activist Tom Morris, for one, is promising that if he's elected, he will resign -- in which case the city could hold a regular special election to select a Denver City Council representative, giving people more time to think... and campaign.

But judging from the crowded field, plenty of people have been thinking about making a run for this council seat for a while, and just didn't want to take on an incumbent as popular, and competent, as Madison.

Madison will be remembered on Saturday with a bike ride and ceremony at the Museum of Nature & Science. You can count on that being crowded, too.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Carla Madison: With city councilwoman's death, Denver is a little less colorful."

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All candidates are following the process that has been set before them by City policy. An imperfect vetting process will take place, but in a greatly condensed period of time. The system isn't perfect, and likely will be modified in the future as a result of this unique situation, but it is what we have. It's quite certain there will be a run-off election, and the vetting will continue to take place among the top two candidates. I'm supporting Rene Farkass (, who was amongst the first candidates to declare. He is a top notch candidate who is running a serious campaign, and raising key issues for discussion, and brings the best package of skills to the table. I hope there will be several forums for the candidates, although the ability for meaningful discussion will be limited by the time factor. If even 30 candidates show up, and they have 2 minutes, that's 1 hour. If they have 4 minutes, that's 2 hours. Who wants to sit through all that? That doesn't include discussion. There are clearly structural problems with the election process for all the write-in candidates for District 8. What if a person had sent a ballot, only later to find out about a write-in candidate? Since the ballots must be in the hands of the City by May 3, it must be mailed by May 1 or 2, so candidates who are campaigning may reach people who might vote for them, but they have already sent in their ballots. I suspect the process will and should be reformed following this rather chaotic situation. It's apparent to me also that District 8 is far too large and should be subdivided. Downtown Denver, Uptown and Five Points, have different sets of interests, not to mention other parts of the district, and those diverse interests should be singularly represented.


I represent Frank the Cat. Frank is equally unqualified to be on the city council, although he shares many traits of councilmembers past, such as; appearance and personal hygiene that may make you think he sleeps under a porch (he does!); dozing off while being screeched at by birds, squirrels, and other cats; and the ability to choke himself on bile and hair, er, I mean, personal grandstanding and red-tape.

Frank still has his nails and almost all of his teeth. He laughs in the face of paralyzing snow-storms. He craps in everyone's backyard, not just yours. He's oblivious to public demands. His matted fur would be captivating if beamed into your homes through the low tv production quality that is channel 8.

On second thought, Frank the Cat is eminently qualified. Please write in "Frank the Cat".

Tom Morris
Tom Morris

My name is Tom Morris. I am one of the 34 candidates for the late Carla Madison’s council seat. I am running because my name is known. If I am successful, I will resign upon being sworn in.Thirty-four candidates is about 31 more than ought to be in the race. Usually, we face two or three unqualified candidates and three candidates with agendas. The qualified have usually been vetted through the people who share their agendas. They circulate and file petitions indicating that their candidacy represents more than a whim. There are a lot of whims floating around here among the crowd of 34.We have about two weeks to go as I write this. I went to the annual District Eight Democratic spaghetti dinner last night. I introduced myself to as many people as I could. I think I met twenty fellow whimsicals.I am not qualified to be a member of City Council. I know this because I have observed City Council up close and personal for 13 years. The first five years I sat at the press table as a regular columnist for the Rocky Mountain News, the Colorado Statesman, the Denver Business Journal and the late, great Straight Creek Journal. The second eight years, my wife was a council aide.The qualifications for being a council member include the ability to forgive and forget, the ability to attend numerous events without letting on that you don’t care, the ability to be yelled at by an ignoramus with a smile on your face and the ability to find the middle ground. I have the latter skill.But I am qualified to resign. I have done so from membership on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, the City Park Alliance, and InterNeighborhood Cooperation. I will quit with a song in my heart.

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