African-Americans Lose Northeast Denver Senate Seat

May 13 2009, 9:52 AM

groff-peterFor 50 years, northeast Denver's Senate District 33 has been represented by an African-American. But when state Senator Peter Groff departed to take a post in President Barack Obama's administration, Democrats chose Michael Johnston, a Caucasian, to replace him, writes The Denver Post, which notes that Representative Terrance Carroll, who also represents northeast Denver, is now the Legislature's sole African-American. (Groff's father, Regis Groff, once held the same district seat as his son.) Groff, Colorado's first black Senate president, says the time has come for African-Americans to "look beyond northeast Denver if they want to hold districts in the Legislature," especially as the district's demographics are changing. In balloting, Johnston edged out African-American candidates, including term-limited Representative Rosemary Marshall (via the Denver Daily News). Johnston, 34, is principal of Mapleton Expeditionary School for the Arts, in Thornton, and son of former Vail Mayor Paul Johnston, according to RealVail.com. Last year, Westword provided a profile of Johnston, noting that "Barack Obama Gives Principal Michael Johnston Extra Credit." Johnston's win represents "just one of a handful of district party gatherings expected within the next few weeks to choose successors for state lawmakers departing for greener pasture," The Colorado Independent reports.

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