Best Political Upset (2004)

John Hickenlooper elected mayor of Denver

It shouldn't have come as such a surprise. Not if you'd looked at the changing demographics of Denver. Not if you'd read Richard Florida's The Rise of the Creative Class. Not, really, if you'd ever even seen geeky beer baron John Hickenlooper work a room, even if that room was the bar at the Wynkoop Brewing Co. right around closing time, when Hickenlooper would start waving his arms as he described some idea that would be really great for this city. An idea like saving the Mile High Stadium name -- a campaign he lost, sort of, but which paved the way for his mayoral bid. No, it shouldn't have come as a surprise, but when Hickenlooper jumped into an already crowded field of mayoral candidates and proceeded to speed past all of them, it shocked the hell out of pundits and power brokers alike. More surprising still: the impressive job Hickenlooper's done thus far.

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