Crisanta Duran beats Mark Thrun in Democratic HD5 primary, gets her website hacked

Lawyer and former Colorado Young Democrats president Crisanta Duran defeated Denver Health doctor Mark Thrun yesterday in the Democratic State House primary in Denver's District 5.

The race wasn't always pretty, with both sides accusing the other of playing dirty. But Duran's been in that situation before -- when she ran for secretary-treasurer of one of the state's largest unions.

As explained in the 2009 Westword feature "Can a Mild-Mannered Bakery Clerk Solve the Grocery Workers' Labor Strife?," which focused on Kim Cordova's ultimately successful bid to take the helm of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, Duran, father Ernest Duran and brother Ernest Duran III were accused of taking advantage of the union the elder Duran helmed for nearly two decades.

Most of the accusations centered around Ernest III, whom the opposition accused of spending nearly $7,000 of union money on personal dinners, Starbucks drinks and Broncos tickets. But Crisanta, who worked as a union lawyer, and her father were also accused of abusing the company credit card.

The Durans defended themselves, saying that all of the charges were legitimate business expenses and that the inexperienced opposition blew them out of proportion. Throughout the entire campaign, which was covered by several media outlets, Crisanta Duran acted as the family's spokesperson, calmly telling the Durans' side of the story while her brother and father shied away from the spotlight.

The Durans, led by father Ernest, who was running for a sixth three-year term as president, lost that election in September to Cordova. The Durans challenged the results, but also agreed to step down on January 1, regardless.

Soon after, Crisanta announced her intention to run for the House. With last night's primary victory, she's one step closer.

"I'm humbled, of course, by the overwhelming support our campaign received," Duran said in a statement. "But the race is not finished yet; we still have a general election to win. There's plenty of good work still to do in front of us."

Among that work is figuring out why her campaign website is down. An attempt to visit today results in a warning message: "Reported Attack Page!" It says. "This web page at has been reported as an attack page and has been blocked based on your security preferences."

Campaign spokesman Dan Mahoney says the website has been like that since at least mid-day yesterday, and Duran and crew have no idea why. "I'm not too sure what that's about. I think it looks a little shady," he says. "We're looking into it."

Another attack, or just bad luck? No telling -- but the situation calls to mind a March incident in which hackers broke into UFCW Local 7's computer and sent approximately 3,000 members a message attacking Cordova.

At the time, UFCW Local 7 spokesman Dave Minshall, under whose name the notes were sent, guessed that the people responsible were "supporters of Mr. Duran."

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar