Republican Secures Major Victory in Democrat-Heavy Region

( – The Pueblo, Colorado mayoral election has captured national attention after a Republican beat an incumbent Democrat. The city was without a mayor for 60 years until 2019 when Democrat Nick Gradisar was elected. Pueblo has leaned left for many years, breaking for Obama in 2008 and 2012. In 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump won the city, but it ultimately shifted back to Democratic in 2020 when then-candidate Joe Biden edged out a win.

Pueblo City Council president Heather Graham knew that she could create more change in a higher position, which is what led her to announce her candidacy for mayor in late 2022. Graham owned two restaurants in the city and was well known, but still thought that she had a slim chance of winning. She said that the city “has been going in the wrong direction the last few years,” and her campaign for improvement ultimately paid off. Graham beat Gradisar by 5,816 votes on January 23. Gradisar conceded shortly after the first returns were reported.

Graham held a watch party at Brues Alehouse on the night of the election. One friend Brian Mater spoke about her commitment to creating a better future for the citizens of the city. He said that she spent a great deal of time researching the inner workings and finances of the city, but also directly engaged with voters through texts and phone calls. Graham’s aspirations for something greater were supported by the citizens of Pueblo when she began advocating for them during the pandemic. She led protests against the city’s restrictions under Gradisar’s administration and held nothing back when criticizing him for hindering business operations while he still collected a paycheck. She was elected to the city council in 2021 and appointed president twice. Her top priority is ensuring that members of the community are safe. Graham has lived in Pueblo for her entire life and earned a psychology degree from Colorado State University in Pueblo.

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