The recent slew of endorsements has slowed a bit recently, perhaps because the Legislature’s waning days have drawn the focus of Colorado’s political world, perhaps because few bigwigs remain who have not bestowed their blessings during this long political season.
Still, some candidates learned in the last week that they won the support of notables, former rivals and powerful organizations.
In a one-two stamp of approval, two of the state’s foundational Democrats announced they’re backing different candidates for governor in the June 26 primary.
Ken Salazar — a former attorney general, former U.S. senator and former Interior secretary — threw his support behind Cary Kennedy, a former state treasurer.
“Cary has the heart of a public servant and that’s who we need leading our state,” said Salazar in a statement. “She has the vision to protect our land, water, and people.” He added that “it’s time to elect the first woman governor.”
The same day, retired 12-term Denver congresswoman Pat Schroeder endorsed U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, the Boulder Democrat who might have gotten his first taste for D.C. life when he served as her congressional page while in his teens.
By electing the internet entrepreneur, the first openly gay candidate elected to Congress, Schroeder said, “we’ll be doing more than breaking another barrier; we’ll be sending a fearless, progressive leader to the governor’s office.”
Also this week, Colorado’s largest teacher’s union, the Colorado Education Association, gave its powerful nod to Jason Crow, one of two Democrats running in the up-for-grabs 6th Congressional District represented by five-term Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman.
Crow, an attorney, is facing clean energy expert and author Levi Tillemann in the primary.
Here are some of the other Colorado candidate endorsements announced in recent days:
• State Sen. Kevin Lundberg, a Berthoud Republican and until recently a candidate in the state treasurer’s race, endorsed his former primary rival real estate tycoon Brian Watson, saying his time on the campaign trail left Lundberg convinced that Watson would be the best, most effective candidate running.
“I believe Brian has the best skills, passion and resources to go the distance in the election and to serve our state with distinction as our next state treasurer,” Lundberg said in a statement.
Lundberg was one of three Republicans knocked out of the race at the state GOP assembly, when state Rep. Justin Everett of Littleton won a spot on the primary ballot and kept the others going through assembly below the required 30 percent. State Rep. Polly Lawrence of Roxborough Park is the third candidate in the primary.
• A bevy of current and former law enforcement officials threw their weight behind Democratic attorney general candidate Phil Weiser, a former University of Colorado Law School dean and one-time official in the Obama Department of Justice.
Weiser’s endorsers include: Stan Garnett, a former Boulder district attorney and the 2010 Democratic nominee for attorney general; John Walsh, a former U.S. attorney for Colorado; Pueblo District Attorney Jeff Chostner; Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown, who represents Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake and Summit counties; and Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle.
• Another candidate for top prosecutor, Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty, received endorsements from Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle, as well as the Boulder County and Longmont chapters of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Boulder Police Officers Association.
Dougherty, a Democrat and former candidate for attorney general, was appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper to take over as Boulder DA after the incumbent, Stan Garnett, announced he was stepping down. Although Colorado district attorneys are usually only on the ballot in presidential years, because the vacancy occurred before a general election, the seat is up for election this fall. Dougherty is facing a primary challenge from state Rep. Mike Foote of Lafayette.
• Conservation Colorado, possibly the state’s premiere environmental organization, released its list of “pro-conservation” legislative endorsements. “With a governor’s race and an opportunity to take back a pro-conservation majority in the state legislature, we could open up the possibility to make bold changes to protect our future,” the group said on its website.
The group is backing seven candidate for the state Senate and two for the state House, all Democrats.
The Senate candidates are: state Sen. Leroy Garcia in Senate District 3; state Sen. Kerry Donovan in Senate District 5; state Rep. Pete Lee in Senate District 11; Tammy Story in Senate District 16; state Rep. Jessie Danielson in Senate District 20; state Rep. Brittany Pettersen in Senate District 22; and state Rep. Faith Winter in Senate District 24.
The House candidates endorsed by Conservation Colorado are state Rep. Tony Exum in House District 17; and state Rep. Barbara McLachlan in House District 59.
• House District 9 candidate Emily Sirota announced she’s won the support of two fellow Democrats, state Reps. Jonathan Singer of Longmont and Mike Foote of Lafayette.
Sirota faces Ashley Wheeland in the primary after the two denied a spot on the ballot to state Rep. Paul Rosenthal, a Democrat who was seeking a fourth term.