Andrew Romanoff makes point against Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman as they debate in Denver on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. Romanoff, who lost that race, entered the 2020 race for Senate this week.

David Zalubowski/AP

Former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff on Thursday morning joined a crowded field of Democratic candidates vying to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020.

“My campaign, like my career, is grounded in the people of Colorado,” Romanoff said in an announcement. “I know firsthand what women and men of goodwill can achieve when united by a common purpose.”

Romanoff, 52, was long rumored to join the throng of Democrats trying to take advantage of what many view as a vulnerable Republican seat. The GOP holds a 53-47 edge in the Senate.

Romanoff has never won a race for federal office: He unsuccessfully launched a primary challenge against Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in 2010 and lost a race for the U.S. House in 2014 to incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican.

Coffman was unseated in the 2018 midterms by Democratic Rep. Jason Crow.

Romanoff was a state representative from 2000 to 2008 and speaker of the Colorado House from 2005 to 2008, when he left office because of term limits.

In announcing his candidacy, Romanoff said he is running because Americans are “running out of time to rescue our planet, repair our democracy, and restore the American Dream.”

Romanoff leaves his position as president and CEO of Mental Health Colorado, a nonprofit mental health advocacy organization, to run for the Senate.

“When I joined Mental Health Colorado, I told my team that I wanted the pace of our work to match the urgency of our mission,” he said in his statement. “There’s no such urgency in the U.S. Senate.”

Romanoff joins a crowded field of Democrats that includes:

  • Former state Sen. Mike Johnston

  • Lorena Garcia, executive director of the Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition

  • Trish Zornio, a scientist

  • Keith Pottratz, a veterans advocate