Tattered Cover owner Kwame Spearman is dropping out of the mayor’s race

He has endorsed former Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce head Kelly Brough.
3 min. read
Kwame Spearman speaks during Denverite’s People’s Forum mayoral debate at the Carla Madison Rec Center. March 7, 2023.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Tattered Cover CEO Kwame Spearman told Denverite he is stepping out of the Denver mayor race and endorsing Kelly Brough.

Spearman has proven himself as a spirited debater and a proponent of law-and-order politics and the urban camping ban.

Spearman will be backing former Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce head Kelly Brough.

"I think, in the eyes of the voters, we have the opportunity to elect our first female mayor. I want to get behind that," Spearman told Denverite. "I think that's the right answer for the City of Denver."

Spearman said he and Brough have not talked about cabinet positions or other appointments, and he's eager to return to work as the head of Tattered Cover.

"I like to say, 'I have the second best job in the City and County of Denver,'" Spearman said.

Like Spearman, Brough has said as mayor she would have the city arrest people who violate the urban camping ban and refuse to take services.

Spearman pledged to be a neighborhood mayor by finding tailored, local solutions by going neighborhood to neighborhood. Brough has more of a regional view and promises to solve Denver's biggest issues, including homelessness, through collaborations with other cities.

Terrance Roberts (left to right), Trinidad Rodriguez and Kwame Spearman listen during a mayoral debate at Regis University. Feb. 9, 2023.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Spearman moved to Denver to take charge of Tattered Cover roughly two years ago. His time at the helm of the independent bookstore chain has included growth across the metro area and also criticism from some workers, as Denverite reported in 2022.

Spearman was a latecomer to the race and the first candidate of the 17 who made the ballot to drop out.

In total, his campaign raised $219,074.25, and he said they've spent most of it.

Any unspent taxpayer money he's collected from the Fair Elections Fund must be returned to the city.

The money he's raised for his campaign can fund his own future campaigns, be given to another municipal candidate or committee working on a ballot issue, or to a charitable group. Finally, he can consider refunding contributors.

"From a resource perspective, there are other candidates who have more," Spearman said. "And I think there's an opportunity for us to make history."

Spearman's name will appear on ballots as these started being mailed out to voters this week.

This story has been updated with additional comments from Spearman. 

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