Colorado’s Female Senate Candidates To National Democrats: Un-Endorse Hickenlooper

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Pastor and UC Colorado Springs Professor Stephany Rose Spaulding at a picnic-style candidate forum hosted by Indivisible Denver to introduce Democrats running to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020, held at Barnum Park on Sunday, June 9, 2019.

Six of the Democratic women running to unseat Republican Sen. Cory Gardner have joined forces against a different target: the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

The candidates sent a letter to DSCC leaders Monday asking the organization to rescind its endorsement of former Gov. John Hickenlooper in the primary. 

“All of us, like many women in Colorado and across the country, have seen well-qualified women passed over for male candidates in the workplace time and again,” the letter reads. “Those of us who have run for office before have been told to ‘wait our turn’ and ‘don’t rock the boat’ more times than we care to mention. Now, the DSCC, by its endorsement, is implying that we should defer to a male candidate because you seem to believe he is ‘more electable.’”

The letter was signed by state Sen. Angela Williams, former House majority leader Alice Madden, Diana Bray, a clinical psychologist and climate activist, Stephany Rose Spaulding, a Baptist pastor and professor of women’s and ethnic studies, Lorena Garcia, a community organizer and Michelle Ferrigno Warren, an immigration advocate.

Hickenlooper entered the race after being courted by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — and the end of his longshot presidential bid. The women’s letter notes that Colorado has never elected a female U.S. Senator. They also criticized the DSCC on its track record for picking candidates.

“We should point out that in the last several campaign cycles, Washington Democrats have recruited candidates with profiles similar to Gov. Hickenlooper with much fanfare, only to see those candidates come up short in the general election. We lost races in Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee because of recruitment practices that do not truly represent communities,” the letter states.

They conclude, "To be clear, this race is not a coronation of any candidate."

In response to the letter, Hickenlooper’s campaign said Democrats have a talented field of candidates who will all have the opportunity to make their case to voters.

Twelve candidates are vying for the chance to challenge Gardner. It's a seat Democrats will need to win to succeed in their effort to flip control of the U.S. Senate.