Election 2018FeaturedNews

ENDORSEMENT WATCH: Backing for governor, treasurer, Congress hopefuls

Author: Ernest Luning - May 23, 2018 - Updated: May 23, 2018

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Cary Kennedy makes a point during a gubernatorial candidate debate sponsored by Never Again Colorado at Manual High School Saturday, May 19, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The endorsements keep coming as candidates running in Colorado primaries near the finish line.

This week, the Communication Workers of America Colorado and Wyoming state councils threw their support behind former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy, one of four Democrats running for governor.

“Colorado’s governor must be someone who is a champion for working families in our state and must be someone who will fight for them everyday at the Capitol. Cary Kennedy will lead the fight for strong unions, higher wages, paid sick and family leave, retirement security and critical protections for working people in our state,” said Madison Cassels, president of the union’s state councils.

In Colorado, 14 CWA local unions represent telecommunications workers, flight attendants, custodial workers, tax drivers, hospital personnel, ski patrol and newspaper workers.

It’s Kennedy’s ninth endorsement from a labor union.

Here are some of the other Colorado candidate endorsements announced in recent days:

• Republican state treasurer candidate Polly Lawrence, a state lawmaker from Douglas County, won an endorsement from former primary rival Brett Barkey, the district attorney for the 14th Judicial District in northwest Colorado.

“As a dedicated public servant, I recognize Polly’s commitment at the state Capitol, including her extensive efforts to roll back regulations for small businesses and giving a voice to victims of human trafficking,” Barkey said in a statement.

He added: “We need someone who will represent our common sense values in the Treasurer’s office. Polly has been a strong representative of House District 39 for the past 6 years and, while firm in her values, she has always able to work with others to get the job done. No other Republican candidate possesses these traits.”

• Eric Montoya, a Thornton city council member, won endorsements from both sides of the aisle for his independent bid in House District 31.

Former state Sen. Lois Tochtrop, a Democrat who represented Adams County for two terms, and Herb Atchison, the Republican mayor of Westminster, both threw their support this week behind Montoya, who also has the backing of Unite Colorado, formerly known as the Centrist Project.

“Eric doesn’t care about scoring political points,” Tochtrop said in a statement. “He will focus on solving problems and making big improvements for the people of Adams County. We need his independent leadership in the state Legislature.”

Adams County’s House District 31 includes the cities of Thornton and Northglenn. It’s currently represented by state Rep. Joe Salazar, a Democratic candidate for attorney general.

• The Colorado Springs Police Protective Association this week endorsed state Sen. Owen Hill, a Colorado Springs Republican, in his primary challenge against six-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn in the 5th Congressional District.

“Owen Hill’s voting record in the Colorado State Senate demonstrates his responsiveness to the needs of the law enforcement community. He is firm in his position on protecting 2nd Amendment rights and stands strong on national security. We believe Owen Hill is the candidate of choice to represent the best interests of our members,” said Joseph Somosky, president of the local police union.

• Saira Rao, who is challenging 11-term U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette in the 1st Congressional District Democratic primary, won the backing of Colorado Black Women Political Action.

Said Halisi Vinson, CBWPA president, in a statement: “CBWPA is concerned that the African American community in Colorado, and across the nation, is losing ground and we need a candidate who will unapologetically stand up for communities of color and low-income communities while recognizing that this is not zero sum game. We need a candidate that realizes a rising tide does not lift all boats, otherwise the African American community in Colorado would not have the same unemployment rates that it did during the great recession. We have found Ms. Rao to be bright and responsive and we believe that she will bring the change that the 1st Congressional district so desperately needs.”

• Former House Speaker Frank McNulty, a Highlands Ranch Republican, added his name to the lengthy list of endorsers behind Chance Hill, the candidate for the University of Colorado Board of Regents for the 5th Congressional District.

“In these increasingly difficult times, it’s imperative that we support and elect leaders who are willing to invest themselves into the public service they seek. Chance will be one of those leaders,” said McNulty, a CU Boulder alumnus.

• Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar endorsed Monica Duran, a Wheat Ridge city council member and candidate in the House District 24 primary.

Calling Duran “an inspiration to Coloradans,” Salazar said: “She fought the odds during tough times and emerged as a pillar of her community and a now twice-elected public servant. Coloradans know Monica will protect Colorado land, water and people — for this generation and those to come. Above all, Monica Duran will never be afraid to fight for what she believes in.”

Duran also notched an endorsement from the Teamsters Local Union 455. She’s in a primary against Kris Teegardin, a former mayor of Edgewater, for the open seat in Jefferson County.

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Won an endorsement or handed one out? Let us know at news@coloradopolitics.com.

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.