Paul López declared winner in Denver clerk and recorder runoff race, avoiding a recount

Speculation about a potential recount came after last week’s unofficial results showed the candidates separated by less than 400 votes.

City Councilman Paul López claps as Denver Elections holds a lottery to determine candidate order on the ballot for Clerk and Recorder in the upcoming municipal election, March 14, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

City Councilman Paul López claps as Denver Elections holds a lottery to determine candidate order on the ballot for Clerk and Recorder in the upcoming municipal election, March 14, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Councilman Paul López on Thursday declared victory in the City Clerk and Recorder race over Margaret “Peg” Perl after Denver Elections certified last week’s runoff results and determined the final tally would not trigger an automatic recount.

López’s campaign issued a statement that said the results certified on Thursday showed the margin of victory did not fall within the automatic recount threshold. A recount is triggered if the margin is within 0.5 percent.

“This victory belongs to the entire city — from our hardworking and dedicated team, to our selfless and passionate volunteers, to every Denverite who shares our vision for fairer elections and more accessible public records,” López said in the release. “I will never forget the faces or the voices of the people of our city and we will continue to make sure their votes are not only cast, but counted. Every vote counts.”

The final vote count showed López defeated Perl by 397 votes, with the councilman earning 72,596 votes to Perl’s 72,199. Denver Elections confirmed on Twitter that a recount was not triggered.

More than 20,000 ballots did not include a vote in the clerk and recorder’s race during last week’s runoff. The final, unofficial results last week showed López and Perl were separated by just 315 votes, which fell within the margin for an automatic recount.

Perl said she congratulated López’s on his win on Thursday. She posted a note on her campaign Facebook page thanking people who worked in her campaign.

“I ran because I have devoted my career to making government more open and accountable to all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected,” Perl said in the post. “After today, I will continue to fight with the community for government ethics, transparency, campaign finance reform, and voting rights in another capacity.

López said in a release that being elected to the position is the “honor of a lifetime.” López served three terms as councilman for District 3. He is the city’s first Mexican-American to be elected to serve as clerk and recorder.

“Together, we will build an office that’s worthy of the extraordinary community we share,” López added. “I can’t wait to get started.”

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