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The mayor's biggest fan is helping John Hickenlooper plug the party online

It's taking a little while for Mayor John Hickenlooper to get his gubernatorial ambitions online: As of Monday, the campaign still didn't have a Facebook page, and its website, www.hickenlooperforcolorado.com is only a placeholder with a donation button. Those things are all coming soon, says new campaign spokesman George Merritt.

But in the meantime, Hick supporter Jeremy Kossler has been selling T-shirts and bumper stickers at www.votehick.com and collecting 9,425 fans on his own Hickenlooper for Governor Facebook page — more than Hickenlooper's own Mayoral page boasts. "To be honest, I'm a little surprised," Kossler says of the candidate's lack of an online presence. But it hasn't dampened his enthusiasm. In fact, Kossler — who had never even met the mayor until Saturday — decided to attend Hickenlooper's campaign open house at its new headquarters, wearing one of his shirts and carrying his baby. "The people from the campaign were very nice and liked the shirt," Kossler says. "It was very informal. They had cans of beer back there, and it looked like they had a growler of beer from the Wynkoop." (Merritt says the growlers were actually root beer.)

And although the campaign staff liked the shirt, they didn't offer to take the copyright off of Kossler's hands. "There are rules," he explains. "And I guess one of the problems is that it shows the Colorado flag." Not that he's making a killing anyway. Kossler has sold just over 100 shirts at $18.95 and 100 stickers at $2.99.

The best part of the day, though, was when the mayor asked if he could hold Kossler's kid. "He said this was the first baby he's held in this campaign," Kossler concludes.

The timing of the open house meant that Hickenlooper couldn't hang out at the fourteenth annual Beerdrinker of the Year contest, which was held at the exact same time at the Wynkoop Brewing Company, which the mayor co-founded. And that must have made him sad, since the mayor hasn't yet met an event he didn't like. In May, for example, he'll be the commencement speaker at his alma mater, Connecticut's Wesleyan University, from which he graduated in 1974. And the university had its choice of Colorado politicians who could have addressed the senior class: Senator Michael Bennet (who was Hickenlooper's chief of staff before he became superintendent of Denver Public Schools, before he became senator) also graduated from Wesleyan, in 1987.

University spokesman David Pesci says he doesn't know if Bennet was considered as a possible speaker because the commencement committee doesn't release that info, but he does confirm that Wesleyan has no plot to take over every political office in Colorado.

Turn it on: Denver lost Hysteria — the sex-positive, non-toxic-educating, GLBT-welcoming — sex-toy shop last month. But a new store with the same philosophy plans to fill the void.

The Smitten Kitten pioneered the idea of brightly lit, female-friendly sex shops in Minnesota seven years ago, says Clare Jackie, a manager at the Minneapolis store. "It's a growing industry," she adds. "More people are finding success having stores like this."

Kitten owner Jennifer Pritchett is also the founder of the Coalition Against Toxic Toys, a nonprofit whose goal is "to demystify the adult sex-toy industry and positively transform socially irresponsible, environmentally and personally hazardous sex toy manufacturing and sex toy sales practices."

Pritchett, who lived in Denver until she was a teenager, hopes to open the store at 70 Broadway on April 1 — no joke. For a Q&A with the business sexecutive — including the answer to what makes a store "sex positive" — log on to the Latest Word blog at westword.com.

You'll get good vibrations.

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