Lakewood City Council Race Takes Turn For The Nasty

The western Denver suburb of Lakewood is playing host to a number of tight city council races, with the Ward One race between incumbent longtime Republican political fixture Ramey Johnson and challenger Kyra DeGruy attracting significant attention. Johnson is a former GOP state representative who narrowly lost the mayoral election to Adam Paul in 2015, and has a long, checkered history in Jefferson County politics.

Yesterday morning, Johnson hosted a regularly-scheduled monthly ward meeting, which are supposed to be nonpartisan town hall-type sessions with residents. Instead, by all accounts Johnson launched into a full-throated pitch for her own re-election.

And then things got a little, well…worse:

This is from a handout that Ramey Johnson distributed to attendees at this city-sponsored event “describing” various donors to Kyra DeGruy’s city council campaign. The descriptions provided by Johnson of these donors appear to be lifted from various sources, but are obviously editorial in nature. And, you know, not exactly flattering.

In the case of Johnson’s description of former Lakewood City Councillor Karen Kellen:

A little searching reveals that this context-free blurb was taken without attribution from a 2011 Denver Post story by reporter Monte Whaley–ironically enough titled “Colorado gay officials seeing more-tolerant attitudes.” The story wasn’t about Kellen’s work after leaving the Lakewood city council, but from right after Kellen’s re-election to a second term, when Kellen went on to help represent LGBT local officials at the National League of Cities:

Over the weekend, Kellen was elected as an at-large member to the board of directors of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Local Officials, a constituency group within the National League of Cities.

To summarize, Lakewood City Councillor Ramey Johnson lifted a six-year-old blurb about former Councillor Karen Kellen, and used it out of context in campaign literature improperly distributed at a city-sponsored event–with the obvious purpose of smearing Johnson’s opponent in the Ward One council race, Kyra DeGruy, by implicitly casting DeGruy’s donors as out of the mainstream.

Folks, this is beneath everybody involved. Lakewood is not some kind of culture-war backwater where cheap whisper campaigns should be politically rewarded. It’s a throwback to the ugly politics of the early 2000s–not coincidentally when Johnson was at the peak of her own political career–when this kind of thing would fly in Jefferson County politics.

In 2017, it should not.

8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. RepealAndReplace says:

    So Ramey Johnson subscribes to the traditional GOP position on gay politicians. Stay in the closet until you are busted in flagrante dilecto hitting on an undercover cop in an airport restroom.

    Make lavatory sex great again!

  2. jcdenver says:

    "…Race Takes Turn For The Nasty"  More accurately that should read, "Candidate Ramey Johnson Takes Turn For The Nasty." A race implies two people but only one of them in this race appears to be using inaccurate, misleading and offensive statements. 

  3. DaveyV says:

    I attend the Ward 1 monthly meetings… maybe others should!  This was a handout and there was NO discussion as Ramey and Charley Able weren't able to get through the full agenda since the entire meeting was spent talking about zoning and planning. 

    In Ramey's defense, she doesn't run as a Republican as these council positions are non-partisan. She is probably the most moderate Republican I've know. I'm a non-affiliated voter. I've known Ramey for 20 years working with her when she was a lonely clerk in the State House. Her own party went against her because she's pro-choice. She's for Lakewood and she's a great check against a runaway council on reasonable growth. Being a native to Lakewood, she's a great advocate for the long time residents of this community. 

    • mamajama55 says:

      Ramey Johnson handed this out. Did she not read it before handing it out? Did she read it and think, "Oh, that's OK!"?

      The simplest explanation is that Johnson handed this out, knowing full well that she was "gay-shaming" Kellen, and, by implication, Kara DeGruy. Spin all you want…'s pretty clear what happened.

  4. DaveyV says:

    Another comment… Ward 1 is rich in diversity and Ramey is NOT anti-LGBTQ. Again, attend meetings. Several attendees are gay. If there's any prejudice, it's not evident as she fights for all of us. 

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      Interesting thoughts DaveyV. I happen to live in Ward 4, but have never heard this sort of stuff about Ramey Johnson while she's been on Council. Maybe the other posters don't live in our city.

      • duffey says:

        As Ramey's campaign manager I guarantee that was not researched, produced or paid for by her campaign. I had no knowledge of that until the citizen showed up with it. Ramey does not have any PAC's  that would have produced it either.  That was someone that did her own research since there have been so many questions about where Kyra's support was coming from (not the citizens of Ward One). 

        It is unfortunate that the writer regarded former Councilor Kellen focus now as "nasty".  I happen to commend her for her work with the LGBTQ community.  I am sure Ms. Kellen may take offence at your characterization of what she does.  That is not a smear, and shame on you for calling it that.  

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