Election 2018LegislatureNews

Democrat Julie Gonzales turns in petitions, wins incumbent Lucia Guzman’s backing in Senate primary

Author: Ernest Luning - February 28, 2018 - Updated: March 3, 2018

GuzmanColorado Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, D-Denver. Three Democrats are vying to succeed the term-limited Guzman. (Colorado Politics file photo)

Senate Democratic Leader Lucia Guzman on Tuesday endorsed immigrant rights advocate Julie Gonzales to take her place representing Denver’s Senate District 34 — the same day Gonzales turned in her nominating petitions, her campaign said.

Gonzales, one of four Democrats running in a primary, has a proven ability to “listen to all voices and bring about concrete policy change” in the rapidly changing district — which includes north, west and downtown Denver — the term-limited Guzman said in a statement.

“Over the years, I have watched Julie as she moved from being a young activist to becoming a leader in community on immigration issues,” Guzman said. “I believe her life experiences have provided her with insight and perspective that will serve her well in the state legislature. I believe that it is my responsibility and part of my legacy to ensure that our next senator continue to reflect the values of this community.”

She urged Democrats to attend precinct caucuses on March 6 to support Gonzales, who is also hoping to qualify for the June 26 primary ballot by petition.

Gonzales told Colorado Politics she submitted nearly 1,300 signatures to the secretary of state’s office Tuesday. If 1,000 of them pass muster with election officials, she’ll need to get the support of at least 10 percent of Democratic senate district assembly delegates. She can also make the ballot by getting the support of at least 30 percent of the delegates.

“Earning Sen. Guzman’s support is deeply meaningful for me, because her leadership exemplifies the same values that my parents instilled in me: that we lift as we climb,” Gonzales said in a statement. “Sen. Guzman has dedicated her life to protecting and advancing the human rights of all people, and Colorado is a fairer and more just state, thanks to her graceful leadership.”

Gonzales added: “I’ve spent my career organizing alongside young people, Latinos, and working class families — folks who are often not included in conversations on policies that directly impact their lives. I look forward to following Sen. Guzman’s example in serving the constituents of Senate District 34, and I will work to enact policies that ensure that all Coloradans have the right to a home, a high-quality education, a living wage, a clean environment, universal healthcare, and the right to live freely and with dignity and respect.”

The other Democrats running for the seat are Alan Kennedy-Shaffer, an attorney and captain in the Colorado Army National Guard; landscape architect Jonah Weiss; and attorney Edward “Milo” Schwab. A Republican candidate has yet to file in the heavily Democratic district.

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.