In her successful quest to win a special election to Denver’s City Council, Paula Sandoval had the support of the firefighters’ union. She was backed by the longest-serving politician in northwest Denver, Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher. Council members Judy Montero and Paul Lopez supported her campaign, along with Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, according to The Denver Post.

In Sandoval’s bid to fill the slot for northwest Denver vacated by Rick Garcia, who resigned to become regional director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, it also helped that she’s already a well-known Democratic state senator.

“I’m very honored to be your new councilwoman,” she says, speaking at a victory party at her family’s restaurant, Tamales by La Casita.

Her first priority, she tells the Denver Daily News, is to get into the weeds of updating zoning regulations. She’s also going to grapple with the city’s looming $80-million budget shortfall. “Maintaining core city services in light of the budget issues is going to be challenging,” she says.

Sandoval, the wife of well-known former state Senator Paul Sandoval, took about 23 percent of the vote (based on early totals). Susan Shepherd, a former union political organizer, garnered 17 percent, and state Representative Jerry Frangas, a Democrat, took 15 percent of the vote.