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Shut Down Denver. Vote for Paul Lopez.

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While it surprises no one that the three incumbents reigned supreme in the Denver City Council elections on Tuesday, a thorough breakdown of the results by the blog Denver Politics dug up a few interesting tidbits to chew on. Namely, that Carol Boigon retained her at-large seat against challenger Carol Campbell by a skimpy 5 percent. This despite the fact that Boigon had raised sixteen times the campaign funds as Campbell, who stumped with a $9,000 war chest. Three of the open City Council districts – District 7, District 3 and District 8 – are set for run-off elections in June.

Also, check out the chart of the moola held by Chris Nevitt and Shelly Watters set to battle for the double-sided District 7, where tony hamlets like Washington Park stare across the Platte at their brown-skinned, working-class neighbors in Ruby Hill and Athmar Park. Wanna bet which side of the river most of those campaign signs will get planted?

Just don’t ask Paul Lopez who’s set for a run-off in District 3. Exactly one year ago May 1, Lopez, a Latino activist and organizer with the Service Employees International Union, was exhorting protesters to "shut down Denver" during the massive, pro-immigrant rally that seized downtown. A year before that, he was telling Denver Police Commander Gerry Wittman how minorities in poor communities don’t trust cops and how "my family and I have been getting harassed by police officers since I can remember."

How it was that the 28-year-old firebrand managed to earn the endorsement of the conservative editorial board at the Rocky Mountain News is anyone’s guess. A clean-cut website helps. But let’s hope he doesn’t change his tune too much. We’re looking forward to hearing some serious anti-establishment talk from the City Council chamber: Out of seven candidates, Lopez earned 45 percent of the vote and missed avoiding a run-off by just 5 percent. His competitor in the June election, JoAnn Phillips garnered only 15 percent.

Jared Jacang Maher

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