State Rep. Leslie Herod sought a promise that she would have an important job in Kelly Brough’s mayoral administration when the two were discussing the possibility of Herod endorsing Brough in the runoff race for Denver mayor, according to Brough and a third person involved in the discussion.
“She wanted a guarantee of a position and one of importance,” Brough said.
Herod, the fifth-place finisher in the first round of the mayor’s race, says the claim is “absolutely not true.” She also said she has no such agreement in place with candidate Mike Johnston whom she endorsed on April 24.
Jordan Fuja, spokesperson for the Johnston campaign, said there is no promise that Herod nor anyone else endorsing Johnston will be offered a job at city hall should he be elected.
Asked how he intended to staff a possible administration at a forum at The Denver Press Club on Thursday morning, Johnston said “I have been very deliberate on not promising jobs to anybody, talking about roles to anybody, putting people into those jobs, even in my head thinking about who are the right candidates,” because he does not want to influence the applicant pool.
One person who was involved in discussions between Brough and Herod said Herod made it clear she chose to support Johnston in the runoff in part because Johnston was willing to make promises about roles that Brough was not.
When asked by The Denver Post Wednesday if Herod asked for political patronage in exchange for her endorsement, Brough responded, “She did not ask for a specific position but it was very clear that I needed to make a commitment for a position and that’s just not the way I’m doing it.”
When asked if she believed Johnston has made any promises to Herod prior to receiving her support, Brough responded, “I have no idea. I know I didn’t get her endorsement.”
When reached for a response, Herod denied that she ever sought such a guarantee. The two women had three meetings to discuss a possible endorsement, she said. It was Brough’s plans to address street homelessness — including arresting unhoused people as a last resort if they refuse service or to relocate to sanctioned campsites — that separated them throughout those talks.
Herod did seek a commitment that Brough give women of color a voice in her potential administration, she said, but nothing for herself personally.
“I did ask that particularly Black women, particularly our communities, have a place at the table in the administration. Absolutely, I did,” she said.
In announcing her support for Johnston last month, Herod said she supported his hopeful vision for the city’s future, including providing short-term housing to address homelessness rather than threatening people with incarceration.
“At the end of the day, Kelly didn’t get my support because our values don’t align,” she said.
Anti-gang community activist and former mayoral candidate Terrance Roberts this week said he and Johnston never discussed jobs in a potential administration before he announced his support for Johnston’s mayoral campaign on May 10 as part of an event that also included Herod.
“I have not asked and he has not offered. I’d rather have integrity,” Roberts said. “Now if he does ask me to help out the city in a capacity that I am capable of, I would consider it.”
In a debate co-hosted by The Denver Post, Denver 7, Denverite and Colorado Public Radio on Tuesday, Brough called hiring cabinet officials the most critical decision she would make if elected mayor. In response to a question from Lisa Calderón — the third-place finisher in the first round of the mayor’s race, who has also since endorsed Johnston — who asked about a commitment to appoint women of color to prominent administration roles, Brough said she intends to create stakeholder groups to identify the best applicants for each position.
That process means her administration will “hire someone that our stakeholders, people who care deeply about that job, now are invested in, that there’s ownership and together we can begin the work immediately.”
Here’s how Johnston answered Calderón’s question: “Absolutely. The answer is we will ensure that we have both incredibly diverse transition teams and an incredibly diverse leadership team including making sure women of color are heavily represented in those moments.”
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