EMILY’s List endorses Democrat Jena Griswold in Colorado secretary of state race

Author: Ernest Luning - October 23, 2017 - Updated: October 24, 2017

Democrat Jena Griswold is announcing she's running for Colorado secretary of state on Wednesday, July 12, 2017. (Photo courtesy Jena Griswold campaign)Democrat Jena Griswold is announcing she’s running for Colorado secretary of state on Wednesday, July 12, 2017. (Photo courtesy Jena Griswold campaign)

EMILY’s List, a national organization that supports pro-choice, Democratic women candidates, on Monday endorsed Jena Griswold for Colorado secretary of state, saying the 32-year-old attorney “will do what needs to be done to stand up to Donald Trump.”

The group announced a month ago that Secretary of State Wayne Williams, the Republican incumbent, was among its top targets for defeat in next year’s election.

Griswold is one of four secretary of state candidates EMILY’s List endorsed Monday as part of an initiative to elect women to positions where they’ll have a say in redistricting after the 2020 Census, a spokesman said. The others receiving the group’s nod are Kathleen Clyde in Ohio, Nellie Gorbea in Rhode Island and Maggie Toulouse Oliver in New Mexico.

“With civil rights and voting rights under attack, Colorado needs a progressive secretary of state now more than ever,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said in a statement. “Jena will do what needs to be done to stand up to Donald Trump, protect Coloradans’ privacy rights, increase transparency around campaign finance, and bolster the state’s cybersecurity in elections. We are proud to join Jena as she works to bring bold and progressive leadership to the Colorado secretary of state’s office.”

The group called Williams a “Trump patsy” when it added him to its list of targeted incumbents in September, charging he “failed to defend” Colorado voters  against a controversial request for state voter data by a White House commission on election fraud. (Williams, for his part, insisted all along he was giving the commission the same data available to anyone, including candidates, political parties and media outlets.)

“EMILY’s List is supporting a new generation of leaders, who will safeguard our democracy and put an end to recent attacks on our civil rights and democratic institutions,” Griswold told Colorado Politics. “I am proud to have the organization’s endorsement, and it is an honor to be running to be Colorado’s first Democratic woman secretary of state.”

Colorado voters haven’t elected a Democrat as secretary of state since 1958, although former state Rep. Bernie Buescher, a Grand Junction Democrat, was appointed to the office in 2009 when Republican Mike Coffman stepped down after winning election to Congress. Buescher served two years before losing his bid for a full term.

Griswold is one of four Democrats running in a primary for secretary of state. The others are Gabriel McArthur, Phillip Villard and Jerold Munster. Williams is unopposed in for the Republican nomination for the office.

EMILY’s List has also endorsed former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy in Colorado’s gubernatorial race and state Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, in what was shaping up to be a crowded primary in the 7th Congressional District. Pettersen withdrew from the congressional race and announced she’s running for a state Senate seat after U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, the Democratic incumbent, said in August he would seek reelection instead of retiring from Congress.

Originally an acronym for “Early Money is Like Yeast” — because it “helps raise the dough” — EMILY’s List has raised more than $500 million for candidates it’s supported since its launch in 1985 and has helped elect nearly 1,000 women to offices ranging from local positions to governor and the U.S. Senate .

In addition to Williams, the group has added U.S. Reps. Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton and Republican state senators to its “on notice” list, charging the politicians have poor records on issues important to women.

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.