Denver mayor's race to turn on Latino vote? Women's vote? Denver does not vote by bloc...

James Mejia
Update: Who will get the Latino vote now that James Mejia is out of the race for mayor? That was the question on Colorado Public Television's Studio 12 last night.

But following this morning's e-mail blast in which Mejia told supporters he's officially bowing out, the real question is: What Latino vote?

Denver is long past voting by bloc. The city proved that in 1983, when it elected Federico Peña mayor -- out of a crowded field that included many white men and Wellington Webb. It proved that again in 1991, when it elected Webb mayor -- yes, he faced another black man in the runoff, Norm Early, but the fact that those were the two leading mayoral candidates in a city that has a small black population was telling, too.

Denver has a sizable, and growing, chunk of Latino voters, but they do not all vote in unison for any person with a Hispanic surname. If they had, that would have been enough to push Mejia over the top, given his strong support from other quarters.

Of course, Chris Romer and Michael Hancock are no doubt courting Latino leaders, not to mention Mejia, right now. But Mejia himself came under fire from some Latino activists.

This was also touted as the year that a woman could be elected mayor -- but it had to be the right woman, a candidate not just with the right résumé and name recognition, but a campaign that caught the public's imagination. And not just the female public. The late Carla Madison might have been such a candidate.

But gender was not enough for Carol Boigon, who dropped out of the race. And it was not enough for Theresa Spahn. If women voted as one, that chunk of votes alone would have nabbed Spahn a spot in the runoff, if not outright victory. But instead of getting more than 50 percent of the vote, she got 3 percent.

A newcomer to campaigning if not public service, Spahn ran an impressive race, and exited it with dignity, issuing this statement:

Dear Friends, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you who have made campaign contributions, given your precious time, made calls, canvassed and voted for me. Your constant help and support were an inspiration and strength for me throughout the campaign. We have much to be proud of and elevated the debate to include a vision for Denver that was based on innovative ideas for a 21st Century Denver. I look forward to enjoying the many new-found friendships and catching up with all of those who are longtime friends. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You all gave so very much. It is an honor to have earned your support.



But not enough support. Because Denver is long past voting by bloc.

More from the Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Colorado tourism account comes back home thanks to Karsh/Hagan: We heart Colorado."

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Numbers? Or is this conclusion part of the now-prevalent OOMA statistics school? (Out Of My Ass)?

"60 percent of the time it works all of the time."-Sex Panther



Pat, this is more creed than journalism; please cite specific analyses rather than drawing such a definite conclusion based solely on who Denver elected mayor. The tendency of people to vote for those of their own ethnicity can be quantified. Such correlations are usually between zero and one -- what are they for Denver's several ethnicities, and how do they compare with those in other American cities?

We don't vote solely on the basis of race -- good, but not many participate in civic discussions, and our civic identity has not provided for adequate public transportation or adequate schools, and fiscal crises loom for both of these essential enterprises of a community. Denver has let its extensive system of mountain parks lie fallow for most of a century, while in the last few decades, Jefferson County has developed an extensive system of open space and parks -- Denver does not give a damn, and just wants to capitalize of our existing public parks by leasing them to private corporations and charging people to enter!. Denver is a rather dull and very complacent place that has not even a clue that its government could be making life better (now a political heresy in much of America) instead of sitting on its hands waiting for collapse. Our supposed intelligence and ability is belied by our City's lack of leadership. I will vote for Michael Hancock because I hope that he will represent the interests of average citizens better than an investment broker. Unless Denver's less affluent voters turn out and develop a little class or ethnic animus against the frontrunner, wake up and smell the Romer.

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