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

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.

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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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