Colorado Senate Democrats’ campaign organization names Michael Whitehorn as executive director

Author: Ernest Luning - August 1, 2017 - Updated: August 1, 2017

Michael Whitehorn, executive director of the Democratic Senate Campaign Fund, an initative of the Colorado Democratic Party (Photo courtesy Whitehorn)Michael Whitehorn, executive director of the Democratic Senate Campaign Fund, an initative of the Colorado Democratic Party (Photo courtesy Whitehorn)

The campaign organization that works to elect Democrats to the Colorado Senate has named political veteran Michael Whitehorn as its executive director, it announced Monday.

Whitehorn, who was most recently U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette’s campaign manager and senior counsel to the Denver Democrat’s congressional office, takes over from Andrew Short, who helmed the Democratic Senate Campaign Fund in the last cycle.

“Michael’s experience in the campaign and political sector will serve the organization well as we lay the groundwork and strategy to take back the Democratic state Senate majority in 2018,” said Senator Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, chair of the organization. “We look forward to having his leadership and broad knowledge of the political landscape take our mission to the next level.”

Prior to working for DeGette, Whitehorn worked as deputy political director for Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s reelection campaign in 2015, as operations manager and political coordinator for former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall’s unsuccessful bid for a second term in 2014 and as a director of the Colorado Voter Protection Hotline with the Obama campaign in 2012. He holds a law degree from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law and received his undergraduate degree at Elmira College in upstate New York.

“I’m excited to join DSCF as the organization has and will continue to play a pivotal role in helping our candidates and caucus in the state Senate,” Whitehorn said in a statement. “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to lead DSCF in engaging with the community, electing great candidates and ultimately winning back our Democratic majority in the Capitol.”

Republicans have held a one-seat majority in the state Senate after the past two elections following a decade of Democratic control. Seven of the 17 seats up for election in 2018 are considered up for grabs, with just two of them held by Republicans — Tim Neville of Littleton and Beth Humenik Martinez of Thornton — and three of the other five held by incumbent Democrats Garcia, Kerry Donovan of Vail and Mike Merrifield of Colorado Springs. The last two swing seats on next year’s ballot are represented by Democrats Andy Kerr of Lakewood and Cheri Jahn of Wheat Ridge, who both face term limits.

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.