Kwame Spearman is dropping out of the Denver mayor’s race just as ballots are hitting mailboxes across the city.
He is also endorsing Kelly Brough, the former head of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Spearman is the CEO of Denver’s Tattered Cover Book Store chain. In a statement Thursday afternoon, the Denver native said the challenge of breaking through the logjam with 16 other candidates was too great. Now Brough is the best option to lead the city in a way that supports small, local businesses like his, he said.
“I’ve had a front seat view in this race. I’ve listened to all the candidates, heard all their plans and seen first-hand how they would work on behalf of Denver residents. Kelly is the right person to lead the city through the next four years,” Spearman said.
Earlier this week, Spearman was among six candidates who were not invited to participate in a televised debate hosted by 9News because he failed to garner at least 2% support in a poll of 594 likely Denver voters conducted by SurveyUSA last month. That poll found 58% of Denver voters were undecided in the race but put Brough in a 3-way tie with Lisa Calderón and Mike Johnston for first place.
Spearman got into the race late, only filing his candidate paperwork on Jan. 9. He ran on a platform of providing responsive and specialized leadership for all of the city’s neighborhoods.
He criticized 9News for not inviting him in a statement issued Monday.
“Denver is at a crossroads, which is why city voters have so many choices this year and why the media is struggling to fairly cover all the candidates,” he said. “9News’ decision to err on the side of being exclusionary does a disservice to Denver neighborhood voters and plays favoritism to those who have been in the race the longest.”
Now his name is on the ballot but votes for him won’t count toward the outcome of the April 4 election.
Brough is honored to have Spearman’s support and looks forward to his voters joining the coalition she is seeking to build, she said in a statement Thursday.
“As business leaders, Kwame and I share a passion for this city and both want to tackle the challenges head-on,” she said.