Colorado’s Democratic primary in the 7th Congressional District grows with addition of Dan Baer

Author: Peter Marcus - August 9, 2017 - Updated: August 9, 2017


Colorado’s race to replace Democrat Ed Perlmutter in the 7th Congressional District grew by one more in the past week.

Dan Baer, a Colorado native who previously served as a U.S. ambassador under President Obama, has joined three other Democrats in the competitive primary.

“We’re at a pivotal moment. We need bold new ideas and a commitment to stand up for our Colorado values,” Baer said in a statement. “Working together, we can put our communities and our country on a path toward success in the 21st century.”

A news release announcing his campaign said that Obama appointed him to “promote American values abroad.”

He joins state Sen. Andy Kerr and state Rep. Brittany Pettersen, both from Lakewood, and state Sen. Dominick Moreno, from Commerce City.

The seat is open after Perlmutter announced that he would not run for re-election. Perlmutter was initially pursuing a run for governor, but he dropped that bid.

The Republican field for the seat is still developing, though no competitive candidates have yet entered the race, despite the somewhat politically mixed nature of the district.

Born in Denver, Baer grew up in the western suburbs of the city. Before serving as a U.S. ambassador – which began in 2013 – Baer advised corporations and nonprofits as a project leader at the Boston Consulting Group.

He also taught business ethics during the financial crisis, and served in the State Department during the Obama Administration, according to the news release announcing his campaign.

Obama tapped Baer to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, where he was responsible for implementation of arms control agreements, addressing international conflicts, and working on human rights issues.

“Dan daily maintained the delicate balance of holding the Russian government accountable for invading Ukraine and committing human rights violations against its own citizens, while also working with Russia – and with 55 other OSCE countries – on issues of vital importance to our national security,” the news release states.

After leaving the Obama Administration, Baer, a 40-year-old gay candidate, and his husband, Brian Walsh – an environmental economist who advises the World Bank – moved back to Colorado.

“We’re in a tough moment right now, but if Coloradans work together, there’s nothing we can’t achieve,” Baer said.

He said he will place a focus on not getting “trapped in deadlocked disagreements and instead seize the opportunity to search for common ground and to craft a future that will be better for all of us.”

“As tough as things are, I’m an optimist,” Baer said. “I believe in the power of Colorado common sense, and I believe that we can make our democracy work for everyone.”

Peter Marcus

Peter Marcus

Peter Marcus is senior statehouse reporter for Colorado Politics. He covers the legislature and previously covered politics, the governor’s office, the legislature and Congress for The Durango Herald. He joined The Herald in 2014 from The Colorado Statesman, a Denver-based political weekly. The Washington Post twice named Marcus one of the nation’s top state-based political and legislative reporters.