Federico Pena, a former legal-aide attorney and two-term state legislator, defeated former District Attorney Dale Tooley in a runoff election Tuesday for mayor of Denver.
Texas-born, Mr. Pena is the first Hispanic mayor for the city of almost 500, 000 people. Mayor William McNichols Jr., who has been in office since 1969, finished a distant third in last month's election. The runoff drew a high turnout of 72 percent of the city's registered voters, with 51 percent voting for Mr. Pena.
The victor put together a coalition of labor unions, Hispanics, and new residents to stake out the middle ground. ''Race was never an issue,'' he said in his victory speech.