Doug Linkhart didn't make the Denver mayoral runoffs, but he's getting a party anyway

Movers and shakers usually donate to political campaigns so that they can get the ear of an office-holder. But at today's debt-retirement fundraiser for Doug Linkhart, they'll be lucky if they get this lousy T-shirt... and the thanks of a longtime public servant.

Linkhart, who's spent much of his life in elected office -- first in the legislature, then as an at-large member of Denver City Council -- placed a distant fourth in the first round of the Denver mayoral election. Labor support, which would have seemed a natural for Linkhart, went to James Mejia, and neighborhood groups weren't enough to put him over the top in that first round of voting, which seems like it was about a million years and 527 mailings ago. But while Linkhart didn't make the runoff, it looks like he was at least able to pick a winner: He quickly gave his endorsement to Michael Hancock.

And that's the first name listed as host of today's Debt Retirement Party at 5 p.m. today at Access Gallery & Studio, 909 Santa Fe Drive. Didn't RSVP? If you show up with $1,000 (the amount requested of sponsors) or even $250 (the "I dig Doug" level), you should be able to get in.

Among the other hosts are such bold names as Brad Buchanan, Dawn Bookhardt, Maria Garcia-Berry, David Cole, Mike Dino, Steve Farber, David Foster, Doug Friednash, Josh Hanfling, John Huggins and Monica Martinez. And then there's the Big Blue Bear, the focus of the current gallery show and, like Linkhart, a familiar sight in Denver.

Linkhart ran an above-board, low-budget campaign, but not low enough, since he was left with a sizable debt... and a job that ends when the new city councilmembers are sworn in. Hence his plea:

"Thanks so much for anything you can do to help me pay off my campaign debt. We did our best to win but unfortunately came up short on both votes and money. If you're not able to join us, please donate on line at www.DougLinkhart.net.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Chris Romer: The 527 pushing him in mayor's race hasn't evolved from dirty dinosaur tactics."

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