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Mayoral Race in Liberal Stronghold Lost to a Republican

Pueblo, Colorado, is well-known as one of many liberal bastions within the Centennial State.

So a Republican victory in a recent runoff election for mayor was shocking to many, not just in the city of Pueblo, but around the entire state.

A recent election in November saw nine candidates enter the political arena vying for the position of mayor in Pueblo.

After the votes were counted, it was declared that none of the candidates received more than 50% of the votes needed to secure a victory.


CPR detailed the initial results:

The race for mayor in Pueblo is headed for a January runoff election.

Nine candidates sought the position. None received more than 50 percent of the total votes, which means the top two are headed for a runoff on January 23, 2024. As of the latest available results, those candidates appear to be incumbent Nick Gradisar and Pueblo City Council President Heather Graham.

Graham appears to be the top vote-getter, with 22.6 percent of the vote; Gradisar received 21 percent as of the latest count.

Chris Nicoll came in third, with a distant 13 percent of the vote.

A runoff election was scheduled for Jan. 23rd, 2024.

After votes started pouring in on Tuesday for the challenger Heather Graham, incumbent Democrat Nick Gradisar conceded the race to his opponent.

The Pueblo Chieftain had more on the unexpected concession:

Gradisar celebrated his first win at Zaragoza Hall in Bessemer in January 2019, but that was also where he learned that his tenure as mayor would come to a close five years later.

The mood at Zaragoza shifted dramatically after the first round of unofficial results were displayed. Upbeat music stopped and didn’t come back on after Gradisar’s concession speech — Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration” was on the playlist — and the majority of the partygoers left within minutes of Gradisar conceding.

In a brief speech, he congratulated Graham on her win but said the results were “unexpected.”

Gradisar and his partner stayed at the venue for about an hour after the first results were announced but left around 8:30 p.m.

He was endorsed by some of the state’s top Democratic officials, including U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper. Gov. Jared Polis publicly endorsed Gradisar and also personally contributed to his campaign.

A democrat mayor, endorsed by democratic senators and funded by a Democratic governor, lost, in a big way, on typically safe ground for democrats.

This wasn’t a victory by an inch: Incumbent Nick Gradisar was trounced in Tuesday’s mayoral runoff.

Perhaps this election was a fluke, or perhaps it’s a sign of things to come in Colorado, and possibly the nation.

Only time will tell.

The Western Journal detailed Tuesday’s unexpected results in Pueblo:

On Tuesday, Graham won her election and Gradisar conceded after the first round of returns were reported, news station KKTV reported.

The results won’t be made official until Feb. 1, but the early results seemed clear, with Graham’s count standing at 14,171 to Gradisar’s 8,355.

Graham won a contest in a crowded field, as nine candidates declared their candidacy. But in the end, Graham came away with 62.9 percent of the vote to Gradisar’s 37.1 percent.

The winning candidate was born and raised in Pueblo and graduated from Pueblo South High School in 2007.


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