All about U: Wellington Webb

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his decorated U. In 1991, he was elected Denver’s first black mayor and went on to serve three terms.

Here’s to former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his staff at Webb Group International for their iconic U.

Colorado Secretary of State Williams is handing out the wooden U’s as part of the office’s UChooseCO campaign, which stresses to unaffiliated voters that they can’t vote both the Democratic and Republican ballots they will receive for the June 26 primary. They have to pick just one ballot. If they vote two, neither will count.

The Webb group’s Josh Miller went all out. He ignored the colored markers in the UChoose box and bought paint. The result is a U with Denver’s logo, a tennis shoe and a shoelace.

After all, the story of Webb and his size-12 sneakers is a part of Colorado’s political history.

The Rocky Mountain News, which endorsed underdog Wellington Webb in Denver’s 1991 mayor race, focused on his sneakers in an ad congratulating him after his victory.

Out of money in his first race for mayor, Webb announced he would campaign on foot, spending the night in supporters’ houses as he traversed the city, traveling only by bus. The press corps, robust in those days, followed to see if Webb was keeping his word.

At the time, Webb was third in polls that gave him only 7 percent of the vote.

Webb went on to serve three terms as Denver mayor, and was succeeded in 2003 by brewmeister John Hickenlooper, who now is governor of Colorado — and who has yet to decorate his wooden U!

Miller suggested that Secretary Williams donate the U’s to the History Colorado Center. This is the first time in state history that unaffiliated voters, now the largest voting block in Colorado, can automatically participate in primary elections. Voters approved the change in 2016 when they supported Proposition 108.

The UChooseCO campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO.

At least every week day between now and the June 26 primary the Secretary of State’s office will highlight a wooden U or two. Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter.