Mike Johnston’s Campaign for Mayor Demands Removal of False Ad

Yesterday, Mike Johnston for Mayor took legal action and demanded TV stations immediately stop airing a new ad from A Better Denver, the Super PAC with close ties to Kelly Brough’s campaign for Denver Mayor. The ad makes several false claims about Mike’s record, and intentionally misleads voters with untrue statements and “supporting evidence” that is taken out of context. 

Not only is the ad factually inaccurate, but A Better Denver has failed to disclose the donors who funded the ad within 48 hours, a violation of Denver campaign finance laws. 

Former Denver Mayor Federico Peña called on Kelly Brough to demand the removal of these ads yesterday. 

“I am deeply disappointed in Kelly Brough and her supporters’ who are intentionally misleading voters about Mike Johnston’s accomplishment,” former Mayor Federico Peña stated. “When candidates are losing, they take desperate measures.The recent ad supporting Kelly Brough is a new low for campaigns in Denver because it is factually inaccurate. It is unconscionable that Brough and her supporters would call Mike Johnston a ‘liar’ when he proudly speaks of his leadership helping pass gun safety legislation as a Colorado State Senator and building more than 50 sites to provide critical COVID testing for the region. I call on Ms. Brough to publicly condemn these ads and demand their removal.”

Today, Sen. Rhonda Fields, the prime sponsor of the 2013 gun legislation, released a statement clarifying Mike’s role in the legislation following the false attacks made in the ad:

Sen. Rhonda Fields: “Truth: In 2013, Mike Johnston was serving in the Senate, me in the House. He was directly engaged with Senate members on Gun bills. He voted “Yes” for a safer Colorado! 

Ending gun violence is too serious to become a political football in Denver’s 2023 Mayoral race.”

Here are the facts:

Mike Johnston played a key role in passing historic gun legislation in 2013.

  • In 2013, Mike was part of the coalition that fought the NRA and successfully passed legislation that enacted universal background checks and banned high-capacity magazines. The bill passed on an 18-17 vote, and two State Senators were recalled as a result, but Mike was proud to stand by them and take a public stand because it was the right thing to do.
  • The Denver Post reported that Mike “led the most forceful arguments in favor of the gun-magazine limit.”
  • In 2018, 9News rated Mike’s claim that he took on the NRA as “True
  • Sen. Tom Sullivan, whose son was killed in the Aurora Theater Shooting just months before these bills passed, commended Mike for his leadership on this issue.
    • Sen. Tom Sullivan: “After my son Alex was murdered in the Aurora Movie Theater, Coloradans stood together to pass the most significant gun safety legislation in decades. Helping to lead that charge was Mike Johnston. I remember watching Mike from the gallery as gun rights groups yelled on bullhorns and some even threatened legislators. It took real courage to stand up for change, but Mike’s words and conviction were clear, they were compelling, and they helped us carry the day.  It’s shameful his opponent would try to downplay his role in that victory against the gun lobby. For us to win and continue to make real progress, we must stand together.  I’m proud to stand with  Mike Johnston just as he always stood with me. Mike has always been, and always will be, a true champion in the fight to get deadly weapons off our streets.”

Under Mike Johnston’s leadership, Gary Community Ventures built COVIDCheck Colorado, the award-winning program that provided free COVID-19 testing to teachers and students across the state. 

  • Gary Community Ventures filed articles of organization for COVIDCheck Colorado in June 2020.
  • According to the Colorado Sun, COVIDCheck Colorado was “developed by Gary Community Investment Company ,” – the organization Mike Johnston led.
  • COVIDCheck Colorado won an award from the Denver Downtown Partnership for administering “the most proactive and equitable response to COVID-19 in the state.”
  • Daniel Aschkinasi, the former Program Manager for COVID-19 Rapid Testing, CDPHE applauded Mike’s leadership through COVIDCheck Colorado:
    • Daniel Aschkinasi: “Colorado’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was successful because of the partnerships between state agencies and organizations like COVIDCheck Colorado. Mike stepped up at a time when Coloradans needed resources, he helped lay the groundwork for thousands of Coloradans to receive free PCR testing and COVID-19 vaccines. I trust Mike to lead Denver through the next emergency crisis, and that’s why I’m supporting him for Mayor.”
  • Eric Parrie, the CEO of COVIDCheck Colorado confirmed Mike’s role in building the organization:
    • Eric Parrie: “Mike built a powerful mission-driven organization from scratch; the Governor committed to, leveraged state and federal funding for, and saw through a sound testing policy; together, the state and CCC took care of hundreds of thousands of people through the most trying circumstances in ways other states across the country envied.”

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