Election 2018Hot Sheet

Democrat Chase Kohne wins Blue Rising PAC’s backing in race against U.S. Rep. Ken Buck

Author: Ernest Luning - January 21, 2018 - Updated: February 7, 2018

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Democratic congressional candidate Chase Kohne, a large animal veterinarian and major in the Army Reserves, talks with a reporter at a shopping center in Douglas County about his Castle Rock veterinary practice on Sept. 8, 2017. He’s running in a crowded primary in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

Castle Rock Democrat Chase Kohne has been endorsed by Colorado-based Blue Rising PAC in his uphill run for the 4th Congressional District seat held by Republican Ken Buck, the group announced this week.

One of four Democrats running for the nomination in the sprawling, mostly rural district, Kohn is a large animal veterinarian, Army veteran and a major in the Army Reserves. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan.

“We believe Chase has the right skill-set to reach out to rural voters in his district and to ensure their voices are heard in Washington,” said Dawn Reinfeld and Annette Moore, the founders of Blue Rising, in a statement. “His passion for affordable healthcare, his initiatives for renewable energy to boost our economy and protect our outdoors, and for revitalizing Colorado’s rural towns are all desperately needed in Washington.”

Kohne welcomed the endorsement, saying it underscores his commitment to equal justice.

“I’m running to represent all Coloradans, and I’m honored to be recognized for my commitment to defending our rights as Americans to equal protection under the law and a real voice in our government,” he said in a statement.

Kohne said his top priorities include providing affordable healthcare for all and promoting renewable energy sources both to achieve energy independence and bring long-term, skilled jobs on Colorado’s eastern plains. In a statement released by his campaign, Kohne said he believes Congress “should do more to strengthen our education system, revitalize small towns, support small businesses and family farms, protect civil liberties, and work to reduce all forms of violence.”

Reinfeld and Moore launched the federal PAC last year primarily to push back against what they call “the extreme right/Trump agenda” by supporting candidates who support equal treatment for all, as well as preventing gun violence, protecting women’s reproductive rights and supporting the environment and immigrant rights.

The Kohne endorsement comes with the maximum allowable donation of $5,000 to his campaign, a Kohne spokeswoman said.

The other candidates running in the heavily Republican district are Democrats Karen McCormick — like Kohne, also a veterinarian — and Larry Germanson and Richard Weil, as well as Republican Jim Gunning,  a former mayor of Lone Tree, who is challenging Buck in the GOP primary. Buck, a former Weld County district attorney, is running for his third term.

Blue Rising has also endorsed Colorado congressional candidates Joe Neguse, Jason Crow and Stephany Rose Spaulding, who are all running in primaries. The PAC is also supporting incumbent senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, as well as Wisconsin Democrat Randy Bryce, who is running against House Speaker Paul Ryan.

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.