UFCW Local 7 endorses opponent of Crisanta Duran, former union boss's daughter, in HD 5 race

Update, 3:57 p.m.: Crisanta Duran has released a statement about the UFCW Local 7 endorsement. Look for it below the original item.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 has endorsed Mark Thrun, a Denver Health doctor, in the race to represent House District 5.

Why is that a big deal? Because one of Thrun's opponents is Crisanta Duran, daughter of Local 7's former boss and a union employee for four years.

Duran stepped down late last year in the wake of a controversial union election -- which was the subject of a Westword feature. Duran's father, former Local 7 president Ernest Duran, lost a bid for re-election to a bakery-clerk-turned-union-rep named Kim Cordova. Likewise, Crisanta Duran failed to win election as the union's second-in-command.

Before Ernest Duran officially left office on December 31, Local 7 endorsed his daughter in her House race. However, the union rescinded the endorsement shortly after Cordova took over on January 1.

Yesterday, Thrun's campaign sent out an e-mail announcing Local 7's endorsement of him. It included a quote from Cordova:

"We are proud to endorse Mark as our choice in House District 5. He has shown us his ability to stand up for working families and will make an excellent representative."

Thrun happily accepted the endorsement.

"I'm humbled by the support from the working families represented by the UFCW. I learned as a child that service to your community isn't something you can just talk about. It's something you must live. UFCW embodies that value, and I've always tried to do the same."

Westword left a message for Duran. We'll update this blog when she responds. Her website lists several other endorsements, including the Local 7 staff union, known as ULSSU. But the lack of an endorsement from her former employer is a glaring omission.

Update, 3:57 p.m.: Duran has e-mailed a statement to Westword. Here it is, in its entirety:

"Throughout my career, I have stood up for the hardworking men and women that make up UFCW Local 7 and will continue to do so if I am elected to the state legislature.

It is disappointing that the new UFCW leadership is using union dues to continue a personal vendetta against my father and putting politics before the best interests of the membership. It is even more unfortunate that Mark Thrun would use this announcement for political gain.

While Mark and Kim focus on going negative, I will continue to focus on the kitchen-table issues that impact hardworking folks in HD5.

At the end of the day, I have more experience, passion and innovative solutions to difficult issues that will better the lives of hard working folks in HD5. This is why I'm running for office and I challenge my opponent to run on the issues and to demonstrate his experience to the voters in the district.

Furthermore, I stand by my long list of endorsements from UFCW International representatives, staff and rank-and-file members that are supporting me."

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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