Kayvan Khalatbari, photographed in 2014, is running for Denver mayor in the 2019 municipal election. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post)

Marijuana and pizza entrepreneur has raised more than $100,000 to challenge Denver’s mayor in the 2019 election

Kayvan Khalatbari, a longtime marijuana industry entrepreneur, has built up fundraising momentum in his bid to take on Denver Mayor Michael Hancock in the 2019 election, according to his latest campaign finance report.

Khalatbari raised $69,569 in the first three months of 2018, his Wednesday filing says, bringing his total since entering the race last year to slightly more than $101,000. That is more than any challenger to Hancock has raised since he was first elected in 2011, though he faced only unfunded challengers in 2015.

As Hancock seeks a potential third term, he still retains a large money advantage, raising more than $312,000 this cycle as of Dec. 31. His campaign says it plans to file his first-quarter finance report Monday, which is the deadline.

But Hancock was likely to face stronger headwinds in the May 2019 election, even before the February revelation that he sent several suggestive text messages to a security detail officer six years ago, early in his first term.

Khalatbari, 34, also co-owns the Sexy Pizza chain and co-founded Sexpot Comedy. In 2015, he ran unsuccessfully for an at-large City Council seat.

In the first quarter, his campaign spent nearly $21,000. It ended the period March 31 with more than $68,000 in the bank. That includes a $30,000 loan Khalatbari made to his campaign last year. But the loan wasn’t counted in the $101,000 contribution total touted this week by his campaign.

Read the full story at DenverPost.com