Scott Mangino CU Regent

Denver Democrat Scott Mangino, a candidate for the University of Colorado Board of Regents, said on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, that he is switching from the race for Colorado's at-large seat to run in the Denver-based 1st Congressional District. He anticipates that the at-large seat, one of two on the nine-member board, will be eliminated before the 2022 election because the state is adding an eighth congressional district.

After five months running for the University of Colorado Board of Regents' at-large seat, Denver Democrat Scott Mangino plans to switch his campaign on Monday to the regents' seat representing the 1st Congressional District, he told Colorado Politics.

That's because the at-large seat he's been seeking will almost certainly be eliminated and reclassified to represent Colorado's new congressional district after next year's election.

Mangino, a technology professional with a background in higher education, said he decided to make the switch so he can focus on running in the Denver-based 1st CD, though he added that he believes traveling the state since declaring his candidacy will bolster his campaign.

"The regents, once elected, have an obligation to all Coloradans," he said. "The information that I’ve learned is very much going to inform my platform, inform my campaign and help me be the best regent for CD1 and the state of Colorado."

His move means Democrats will face a primary in the heavily Democratic, Denver-based 1st CD, where Johnnie Nguyen, the son of Vietnamese refugees and a freshly minted attorney, declared a candidacy earlier this month. Regent Jack Kroll, who represents the district, isn't seeking a second term.

The constitutionally established nine-member board of regents oversees the CU system’s roughly $5.2 billion annual budget and makes key hiring and policy decisions for the university’s four campuses — CU Boulder, CU Colorado Springs, CU Denver and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. Members serve staggered six-year terms.

Under its current configuration, the board has two at-large members and seven members elected from each of the state's congressional districts, but since Colorado is gaining a congressional seat due to the results of the 2020 census, one of the at-large seats will have to go in order to create a seat to represent the new district.

Legislators told Colorado Politics they expect the change will be made official early in the 2022 session, which is scheduled to start in January.

The at-large seat Mangino has been running for is represented by Republican Heidi Ganahl, who launched a campaign for governor last month and whose term on the board is up next year.

Mangino had been the only declared candidate running for that at-large seat. The other at-large seat is represented by Democrat Lesley Smith, who was first elected in 2018 and whose term expires in 2024. 

Mangino says he's running to "embrace the new normal and be unapologetically committed to transparency, innovation, and change."

In an interview, he said: "Covid opened up our eyes and is going to enable us to become the most inclusive university system possible."

Mangino works at Jobcase, a Massachusetts-based job-search platform.

The Denver chapter of Progressive Democrats of America endorsed Mangino's at-large candidacy last month, saying, “Scott is committed to being an advocate for all CU students, staff, and faculty to ensure that everyone has an equal voice. He recognizes the urgency to reduce the cost of higher education, to expand services without cutting staff and to engage the community in participating in the process.”

Through the end of the third quarter on Sept. 30, Mangino reported raising just under $10,000 and had $5,721 on hand. He also reported about $15,000 in in-kind donations.

Nguyen welcomed Mangino to the race.

“Coloradans deserves democracy," he said in a text message. "They should have a choice between candidates in this important election. I welcome Scott to the race and I look forward to getting to know him better along the campaign trail.”

The other regents' seat up for election next year represents the 4th Congressional District.

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