Leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus and the group’s political action committee are endorsing Democrat Joe Neguse in his bid for the 2nd Congressional District seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, the Boulder Democrat who is running for Colorado governor in next year’s election.
“Joe Neguse is exactly the type of bold progressive leader we need here in Congress — someone who will stand tall for his district and stand up for priorities like better jobs, better health care, affordable education and social justice,” said U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Other prominent members of the caucus who are backing Neguse include House Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the third-highest ranking Democrat in the House; and U.S. Reps. Marcia Fudge of Ohio and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi. (The caucus has 49 members, including two U.S. senators and one Republican, U.S. Rep. Mia Love of Utah.)
The caucus’s PAC is also throwing its weight behind Neguse, who would be the first African American elected to Congress by Colorado voters if he wins the seat.
“As an experienced attorney, public servant and civic leader, Joe has proven himself to be a true champion and much-needed voice for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District,” said U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York, who chairs the PAC. “Joe will continue the fight against the Trump administration’s attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and their policies that seek to ban and disrupt diverse immigrant communities in Colorado and across the country.”
Neguse, 33, a former CU regent and an attorney, stepped down at the end of June as executive director of Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies, which he headed under term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper for the past two years. The son of Eritrean immigrants, he co-founded New Era Colorado, an organization that mobilizes young residents to register to vote and cast their ballots. He was the Democratic nominee for secretary of state in 2014.
“I’m honored to have the support of Chair Richmond, Assistant Leader Clyburn, Congresswoman Fudge, and Congressman Thompson — leaders who have fought tirelessly for decades to advance civil rights and social justice,” Neguse said. “I’m humbled by their support and, if elected, would be proud to join them in their fight for change in Washington D.C.”
State Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, cheered the news that the Congressional Black Caucus had endorsed Neguse, a friend since the two were students at CU Boulder.
“It is so inspiring to see our national leaders and civil rights icons come together to support the next generation of leadership,” Herod told Colorado Politics. “Joe Neguse is the bold voice we need in Washington.”
Neguse is so far the only declared candidate for the seat, which leans Democratic. The district includes Boulder, Larimer and Broomfield counties and then climbs into the mountains, including all or portions of Jefferson, Clear Creek, Eagle, Gilpin, Grand, Summit and Park counties.
Other Democrats weighing runs include gun-control activists Shannon Watts and Ken Toltz, former Boulder Mayor Shaun McGrath and Loveland resident Howard Dotson. Republicans who have let it be known they’re considering a run include former House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso, former state Rep. B.J. Nikkel, both of Loveland, and former Fort Collins City Councilman Gino Campana.