By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) — A big name jumps into the race for Denver’s mayor. Penfield Tate is a former state lawmaker, attorney and long-time Democratic analyst for Colorado Public Television12 and CBS4.

“Now is the time to get some new leadership and head us in a different, more positive direction,” Tate told CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd.

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In announcing his run on CBS4, Tate hit on the number one issue facing the city — growth. He says Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has allowed it to get out of control.

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“We’ve lost affordable housing. We don’t really have it. We’ve got an issue with crime spiking and… the homeless situation is something that has people very concerned in terms of its impact on, not just downtown, but other neighborhoods and traffic is a huge issue,” Tate said.

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Public safety, he says, is also an issue. Gang violence he says is up and community policing is down. He also pointed to dissension in the police ranks over so-called sanctuary city policies.

“We need to relook at this clearly. With the rise in crime and other things that folks are concerned about, how we handle these things has be responsive to the entire safety of the City and County of Denver,” said Tate.

But, he says local law enforcement shouldn’t be doing the work of federal law enforcement.

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He says the lack of planning and management around growth in Denver is one reason he’s running. The other reason, he says, is the lack of transparency and accountability in the city.

Hancock admitted and apologized earlier this year for sending a female officer inappropriate text messages. City Council refused to investigate.

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Tate says they dropped the ball.

“If you’re doing these things as mayor, how can you expect a different standard of behavior from people subordinate to you? That’s a different direction I would take things,” he said.

Tate’s announcement comes just days after the hearing over alleged sexual misconduct by Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Tate insists the timing is coincidental.

Democratic analyst Steve Welchert says he didn’t expect Tate to come out swinging, “I’m surprised he went there on day one. Eventually the race gets there, but right now?”

Welchert stopped short of saying Hancock should be worried, “He should pay attention.”

The election is next May, just before the presidential primaries launch.

Welchert says he’s not worried about the Mayoral race dividing the democratic party, “I’ll kind-of paraphrase our friends in Vegas – what happens in Denver stays in Denver. Denver Democrats will have this battle, and that’ll be what it is, over who Denver Democrats want to be the next mayor. And then they’ll put away their problems and go back in 2020 because the Trump mission is going to be a big deal.”

Tate is airing his first TV ad Monday during the Broncos game.

Mayor Hancock’s campaign manager released a statement:

“Mayor Hancock and the people of Denver have a lot to be proud of. Denver is an exciting place to be — our economy is thriving and our neighborhoods are safe. The Mayor has made rec centers free to kids and seniors, created more housing for the homeless, and improved access to city services. Mayor Hancock is excited to campaign on his work to increase funding for affordable housing, make it easier to get around town, improve our park system, and create a more equitable city by protecting our most vulnerable communities and increasing access to opportunity for all. He’s focused on addressing Denver’s biggest challenges, supporting key measures on the fall ballot, and electing Jared Polis and other Democrats to office.”

Polis and Governor Hickenlooper support Hancock.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4’s political specialist. She’s a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.


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