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Friday Churn: CU regent vacancy

What’s churning:

The University of Colorado Board of Regents has its first vacancy in 35 years with the resignation of Monisha Merchant, a Lakewood Democrats elected to the board in 2008 from the 7th Congressional District.

Merchant, an MIT grad whose resume includes stints as a product manager, business consultant and work with non-profits, is going to work as a staff member for U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

This is the first resignation since 1976 from the regents, the state’s only elected higher education board. Gov. John Hickenlooper will appoint a successor to serve until the 2012 election.

The board currently has a 5-4 Republican majority. Three other seats, the District 3 and District 5 spots currently held by Republicans and a statewide seat held by a Democrat, also will be on the ballot next year.

In case you missed it Thursday: Mayor Michael Hancock is throwing his support behind Anne Rowe in the battle to represent Denver’s District 1 on the DPS board.

Rowe is competing with Emily Sirota for the open southeast Denver seat.

Hancock previously endorsed Happy Haynes for the open at-large seat but hasn’t yet endorsed in northwest Denver’s District 5, where Jennifer Draper Carson is trying to unseat incumbent Arturo Jimenez.

Rowe, 51, is a small business owner and a founding co-chair of A+ Denver. “I am thrilled by Mayor Hancock’s endorsement,” she said.

Meanwhile, Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher announced he is endorsing Sirota, saying, “Emily will be a great board member for southeast Denver because she is not afraid to tell the truth about the administration. … Emily will raise hell about the fiscal waste and mismanagement which has scandalized this administration.”

Also Thursday, Jimenez announced that he’s been endorsed by the Unified Association of Realtors, which also has endorsed Sirota and at-large candidate Roger Kilgore. The group is a new organization that includes the former Denver Board of Realtors.

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