Election 2018NewsTrending

Obama endorses Polis, other Colorado Democrats for midterm elections

Author: Ernest Luning - August 1, 2018 - Updated: August 3, 2018

Obama resolution
Then-President Barack Obama in a 2016 photo. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Former President Barack Obama endorsed 13 Colorado Democrats Wednesday, including the gubernatorial ticket of Jared Polis and Dianne Primavera, calling them “leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent.”

The list includes attorney general nominee Phil Weiser, who worked in the Obama Justice Department, and secretary of state nominee Jena Griswold, who worked on Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Nine legislative candidates also received the former president’s formal backing.

The initial list does not include other Colorado races. It leaves off Democratic state treasurer candidate Dave Young and bypasses Colorado congressional races, for example. But Obama called the list his “first wave” of endorsements, suggesting there could be more to come.

Obama announced the 81 midterm endorsements across 14 states on Twitter.

The state Senate candidates winning Obama’s backing include Tammy Story and state Reps. Jessie Danielson, Brittany Pettersen and Faith Winter. The state House candidates are state Reps. Dylan Roberts and Dafna Michaelson Jenet, plus Shannon Bird, Rochelle Galindo and Julie McCluskie.

“I’m proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates — leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent,” Obama said in a statement.

“I’m confident that, together, they’ll strengthen this country we love by restoring opportunity that’s broadly shared, repairing our alliances and standing in the world, and upholding our fundamental commitment to justice, fairness, responsibility, and the rule of law,” he said. “But first, they need our votes – and I’m eager to make the case for why Democratic candidates deserve our votes this fall.”

In another statement, Obama went into detail about his endorsement of Polis, a five-term congressman who faces Republican Walker Stapleton in a race for the seat held by term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat.

“Jared has always been an indispensable leader for Colorado, and we became friends and partners in the fight to expand affordable healthcare, ensure a better education for all our children, and protect our wild spaces and our planet from climate change,” Obama said, adding that he was confident Polis “will be an effective champion for Colorado families.”

Calling Obama “a courageous leader and statesman who Coloradans and Americans continue to be proud of,” Polis said in a statement: “I was proud to work alongside President Obama to expand health care to millions of Coloradans, strengthen and empower our public schools, and protect the public lands that power our economy. All of that hard-fought progress is on the line in this election. By working together, we can build on that progress here in Colorado and build an economy where every family has the opportunity to get ahead.”


Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.