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Crisanta Duran on Friday ended her insurgent bid against a 12-term Democratic congresswoman from Denver without explanation.

Once considered a rising star in the party, the former state House speaker ran a lackluster campaign in which she failed to galvanize enough support or raise much money to mount a competent challenge to U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette in the 1st Congressional District.

Crisanta Duran

In a short statement, Duran did not offer a reason for her decision, but she told supporters that she “can be more effective in pursuing transformational change through other means.” 

Duran lost her chief campaign strategist in May, and soon after, other top campaign officials departed. The move to withdraw came just days before her latest campaign finance report is due. She ended June with only $85,600 in her campaign account, according to federal records, more than three times less than what DeGette posted.

Her decision in February 2018 to challenge a veteran high-ranking Democrat surprised political observers who had encouraged Duran — the first Latina statehouse speaker — to run for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2020. And her political profile as a business-friendly moderate didn’t fit the background of other successful candidates who defeated incumbents with support from the more liberal wing of the party.

The Office of Professional Employees International Union backed Duran, as did former U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar. But the United Food and Commercial Workers in September announced its support of DeGette, a blow to Duran who once worked as the attorney for the union, where her father was the longtime president.

Duran did not return a message from The Colorado Sun Friday.

John Frank is a former Colorado Sun staff writer. He left the publication in January 2021.