Candi CdeBaca pulls out a win in the tight race for Denver’s District 9, beating incumbent Albus Brooks

CdeBaca will represent the buzzing north-central district that includes the downtown.
3 min. read
Candi CdeBaca (right) celebrates as election results come in showing her lead over incumbant Albus Brooks, June 4, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Candi CdeBaca on Wednesday became the fourth Denver City Council candidate in 32 years -- and the second in this election -- to unseat an incumbent council member, knocking off District 9 Councilman Albus Brooks in a runoff race.

CdeBaca will represent one of the busiest parts of Denver, a north-central district including Five Points, Lower Downtown, Globeville, Elyria, Swansea, Whittier, River North, Auraria, Cole, Clayton, City Park and City Park West.

She won with 52 percent of the vote.

Brooks was seeking his third and final term on the council. He said in a Facebook post on Wednesday morning he had called CdeBaca to concede.

"The last four years have been incredible, and as you know I faced the fight of my life with cancer," Brooks wrote in the post. "You have showed me tremendous love and continue to inspire me. "

CdeBaca, a longtime advocate in Swansea and vocal critic of Brooks, ran on a platform focusing on improving housing and wages, traffic and pollution, and accountability and transparency.

CdeBaca posted a lengthy response on Facebook announcing her win Wednesday afternoon, calling her campaign an "insane idea to run against an 8 year incumbent being groomed for mayor in the most expensive district" in the city. She listed off the firsts in her win, including becoming the first queer Latina and first Democratic Socialist on Denver City Council. She said she would be taking a hiatus to rest up and recover "mentally, emotionally and physically."

She added that she would be back in a few weeks for a stakeholders meeting, a block party and her first city council meeting.

"I feel exactly the same way I have felt at every moment in my life where I was challenged out of necessity or by the community to do something others thought was crazy, impulsive, impossible, or impractical," CdeBaca wrote in the post. "We proved the skeptics, the establishment and non-believers all wrong....AGAIN."

CdeBaca will join other Latina representatives on the council -- with Amanda Sandoval in District 1, Jamie Torres in District 3 and at-large Councilwoman Debbie Ortega.

Her win marks a major victory for progressives in Denver. CdeBaca has vowed to address gentrification in her district and pay special attention to the area's minority communities.

Candi CdeBaca listens to City Councilman Albus Brooks during a hearing before the Denver Board of Public Health and Environment on a request for the I-70 expansion project to breach normal legal limits on noise pollution, Sept. 6, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The victory has been a long time coming for CdeBaca, who launched her campaign in December 2017. She immediately positioned herself as one of the most vocal and prominent opponents of a massive project in the district: The I-70 expansion, which disproportionally affected her home neighborhood.

The race was not without controversy. A racist flyer depicting Brooks as a cartoon monkey was found in the district and prompted condemnation from both candidates, including CdeBaca, who whose logo was featured in the flyer. She told Denverite it was not a product of her campaign.

On Tuesday, challenger Amanda Sawyer also defeated an incumbent -- Mary Beth Susman in District 5.

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