Democrat Gabriel McArthur withdraws from Colorado’s 6th Congressional District primary, endorses Levi Tillemann

Author: Ernest Luning - July 24, 2017 - Updated: July 25, 2017

Democratic congressional candidate Levi Tillemann, left, is running in a primary in Colorado's 6th Congressional District. Gabriel McArthur withdrew from the primary and endorsed Tillemann on Sunday, July 23, 2017. (Photos by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics & AP, File)Democratic congressional candidate Levi Tillemann, left, is running in a primary in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District. Gabriel McArthur withdrew from the primary and endorsed Tillemann on Sunday, July 23, 2017. (Photos by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics & AP, File)

Gabriel McArthur, a Bernie Sanders delegate to last year’s Democratic National Convention, has withdrawn from Colorado’s 6th Congressional District primary and on Sunday threw his support behind Levi Tillemann, one of three Democrats vying for the chance to take on U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, the Republican incumbent, in the battleground seat.

“I’ve considered which Democratic candidate understands the best strategy to best Rep. Mike Coffman — a strategy that does not involve moving to the political center. A boldly progressive vision is the only viable path to victory,” McArthur wrote in a Facebook post announcing his endorsement.

“Levi is the only other politician I’m aware of that understands the urgency in addressing the effects of automation on the workforce,” McArthur continued. “He would be also be aggressive in working to transform our energy system, a move that not only would help conserve our natural resources, but would create promising new industries and jobs.” He also lauded Tillemann’s support for working toward a single-payer health care system.

McArthur took some swipes at attorney Jason Crow — one of the other two Democrats running for the seat — saying the “ordained” front-runner has justifiably come under fire from the GOP as the Democratic establishment’s “hand-picked candidate.”

“The American people are completely fed up with politics as usual, and while this certainly should be obvious, the political elite seem frustratingly oblivious to this fact,” McArthur wrote. “Their efforts on the Democratic side to edge out progressives in favor of cookie-cutter candidates like Crow are not only contradictory to the values they claim to espouse, but have only resulted in a Republican supermajority that threatens our way of life.”

Noting that his forebears include a Filipino immigrant and members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, McArthur said he believes Tillemann understands Democrats have to earn support from minority voters.

The Crow campaign unveiled an endorsement of its own from the Bernie Sanders camp earlier this month.

“The Democratic Party must make way for a new generation of leadership that is committed to restoring America’s promise,” JoyAnn Ruscha, the political director for the Sanders campaign in Colorado last year, wrote in her endorsement. Crow, she said, “believes that working Americans deserve a living wage and he knows that health care is a human right. He’s not afraid to take a stand for public education or equal pay for equal work, because Jason has what Washington lacks: a moral imagination and the courage of his convictions.”

“Jason Crow is not a politician,” Ruscha added. “Rather, he is a breath of fresh air in a stale political climate with a voice we desperately need.”

Democrat David Aarestad, an attorney and one-time candidate for the Cherry Creek School District board, is also running in the suburban, which covers all of Aurora and parts of Arapahoe, Adams and Douglas counties.

McArthur announced he plans to run for secretary of state in next year’s election after withdrawing from the congressional race. The incumbent, Republican Wayne Williams, is running for a second term, and Democrat Jena Griswold has launched a campaign to unseat him.

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.


  • Kelly Branch

    July 24, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    This race just keeps on getting more and more interesting right now I have two main questions.

    I’d like to know more about Tillemann’s background and get more people on the record about him. He just seems like a bit of a blackbox and I don’t like that.

    Also Crow people keep saying he’s not a politician. This doesn’t make sense to me, Hasn’t he he been pretty active in local politics for most of the last decade? I know a friend of mine got a donation from a pac of some sort that Crow used to help run, cornflower, or blue flower or something? I don’t know, the whole “not a politician” thing doesn’t ring particularly true for a guy who spoke at the 2012 convention.

  • MadhavaMayhem

    July 24, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    I don’t think Crow’s a politician. I don’t care how many candidates he donated to, or endorsed, or politicians he advised, or conventions he’s spoken at. If you don’t make your money in government nobody can call you a politician. Crow’s a great lawyer and exactly who you need if you’re worried about getting caught on the wrong side of the law.

  • Jarold Velasquez

    July 24, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Gabriel you will be missed in the congressional race

  • CTD

    July 24, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Gabriel, you were an amazing and fresh voice for our community. Thank you!

    Also, thank you for endorsing another candidate I can feel truly excited about! Looking forward to voting for both of you!!

Comments are closed.