Election 2018News

ENDORSEMENT WATCH | EMILY’s List picks candidates in Democratic primaries

Author: Ernest Luning - May 31, 2018 - Updated: May 31, 2018

billThe Colorado Capitol is pictured on a sunny day in this file photo. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

EMILY’s List, a national group that backs pro-choice Democratic women candidates, on Wednesday endorsed five legislative candidates running for open seats in Colorado’s June 26 primary election.

The group’s president, Stephanie Schriock, called the group’s picks “at the forefront of advocacy for Colorado’s working families and their children.”

“These women have used their personal experiences to fight for the rights of workers, defend Colorado’s environment, protect access to quality health care, and organize voters for change,” Shriock said in a statement. “Without a doubt, they are the strongest candidates to help Democrats hold on to their majority in the state House and flip the state Senate. We’re excited to stand with them.”

The women heading into the primary with the group’s support are:

  • Hazel Gibson in Denver’s Senate District 32 primary against Robert Rodriguez and Zach Neumann
  • Julie Gonzales in Denver’s Senate District 34 primary against Alan Kennedy-Shaffer and Milo Schwab
  • Meghan Nutting in Denver’s House District 5 primary against Alex Valdez, former state Rep. Joel Judd and Nicky Yollick
  • Monica Duran in Jefferson County’s House District 24 primary against Kris Teegardin
  • Rochelle Galindo in Greeley’s House District 50 primary against former state Rep. Jim Reisberg

The group didn’t make endorsements in several hotly contested Democratic primaries that feature more than one woman on the ballot, but a spokeswoman said to expect more endorsements as the general election approaches.

EMILY’s List, which boasts raising more than $500 million for candidates since 1985 — its name was originally an acronym for “early money is like yeast,” because it “helps raise the dough” — said last year it’s targeting the Republicans’ single-seat majority in the Colorado Senate, part of its efforts to help win control of the redistricting process ahead of the 2020 U.S. Census.

Here are some of the other Colorado candidate endorsements announced in recent days, as mail ballots are set to drop:

• Mary Lou Makepeace, the first woman elected mayor of Colorado Springs, threw her support behind Maile Foster, who hopes to become one of the first independent candidates elected to the state Legislature.

Foster, a financial advisor and former president of the local Rotary Club, is running for the House District 18 seat held by state Rep. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, who is running for a state Senate seat. She’s one of five independent candidates statewide backed by Unite Colorado, the local arm of a national organization that’s pouring resources into electing lawmakers who aren’t affiliated with either major party.

“Maile Foster will be a change agent in the Colorado Legislature,” Makepeace said in a statement. “As an independent she will consider what is best for us the people who voted for her — and not the party establishment.”

Makepeace served as mayor from 1997-2003. She sought the office again in 2015 but lost in a run-off to John Suthers. A former Republican, she dropped her party affiliation last year.

• The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws PAC endorsed Democrat Jared Polis for governor, citing the five-term congressman’s record as “the preeminent champion for ending our nation’s failed federal prohibition on marijuana.”

“At this crucial time in the fight for sensible marijuana policy, Coloradans need an outspoken defender of their state’s right to legalize and regulate marijuana,” said NORML PAC Executive Director Erik Altieri in a statement. “Jared Polis is the only choice for Colorado governor who will truly stand up to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his prohibitionist agenda and aggressively defend the will of the majority of Coloradans who voted to and support the regulated adult use of marijuana.”

Polis is one of four Democrats running a primary for the office held by term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat.

• Darryl Glenn, an El Paso County commissioner and one of four Republicans challenging U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn in the 5th Congressional District, won an endorsement from the Colorado Professional Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 5.

“Darryl understands the people that he serves because he listens to the people that he represents,” said David Noblitt, the union’s president, in a statement. “Darryl’s 15 years of community leadership experience is exactly what we need in Washington, D.C.”

• Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democratic candidate for president in the last election, endorsed state Rep. Jessie Danielson’s run in Senate District 20.

• Karen McCormick, one of two Democrats running in the 4th Congressional District for the chance to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, won endorsements from state Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, and the American Federation of Teachers Colorado.

“From her service as a volunteer ESL teacher with Intercambio over the past years to her commitment to offering health insurance that included extensive reproductive health benefits to the employees at her veterinary clinic even prior to the (Affordable Health Care Act), Dr. Karen McCormick is a progressive who lives her values,” Herod said in a statement.

Sarah Mesmer, president of the teachers union, said she expects McCormick will be a champion for students, teachers and their communities.

“At a time when educators are increasingly speaking up at the state level, we need someone like Karen McCormick who will make our voices heard in Congress,” Mesmer added.

• Frank Francone, one of two Republicans running for Jefferson County’s open House District 22 seat, won an endorsement from the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners PAC.

Calling Francone a “longtime fighter for our Second Amendment rights and all of our constitutional rights,” the hardcore gun rights group’s chairman, Dudley Brown, said in a statement, “Frank Francone is the clear choice for Republican primary voters in House District 22 who want to protect their rights, bring humility back to state government and restore power to ‘We, the People.’”


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.

One comment

  • Jane

    May 31, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    EMILY’s list endorsed Cary Kennedy about a year ago as well, and Stephanie Schriock was at an event for her in Denver last week.

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