Mar 13, 2023 - Politics

1-minute voter guide: Denver Auditor Tim O'Brien takes on Erik Clarke

Left: Tim O'Brien. Right: Erik Clarke. Photos: Courtesy of the Denver Auditor’s Office and Erik Clarke's campaign

The race to be Denver's next auditor could be a close one come April 4.

Why it matters: The city auditor acts as a check and balance on Denver's "strong mayor" form of government and an agent for improving the performance of city agencies, from the police department to the airport.

Meet the candidates: Incumbent Timothy O'Brien, a Democrat, is vying for his third and final term after running unopposed in 2019. He was first elected in 2015, and also served as auditor of Colorado for nearly a dozen years. O'Brien, who lives in southeast Denver, is a certified public accountant and has an MBA from the University of Colorado.

  • Challenger Erik Clarke, a fellow Democrat, is a political newcomer and professional auditor. He works for Deloitte and touts his experience handling hundreds of audits. He aims to expand Denver Labor and ramp up proactive auditing.
  • Clarke has secured a key endorsement from former Denver mayor and city auditor Wellington Webb.

What they're saying: The two candidates differ on the single most urgent issue pressing the city.

  • O'Brien told the Denver Post the city's largest problem is failing to follow through on its promises, as well as leaders lacking plans for how their city agencies will use taxpayer funds.
  • Clarke, however, said the top issue is implementing a newly passed ordinance that helps workers recover stolen wages and cites the estimated $728 million stolen from Colorado workers annually.

By the numbers: When it comes to fundraising, Clarke is way ahead of O'Brien, recent fundraising reports show.

  • Clarke has raked in $141,779, including Fair Elections Fund payments and campaign contributions.
  • O'Brien has only raised $5,948.

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