Hot Sheet

Former DPS candidate Tay Anderson withholds gubernatorial endorsement pending answers to ‘tough questions’

Author: Ernest Luning - December 28, 2017 - Updated: December 28, 2017

Tay-Anderson-House.jpg
Denver Public Schools board candidate Auontai “Tay” Anderson, at 18 the the youngest school board candidate in Colorado history, visits House chambers at the state Capitol on April 20, 2017. (Photo by Joey Bunch/Colorado Politics)Denver Public Schools board candidate Auontai “Tay” Anderson, at 18 the the youngest school board candidate in Colorado history, visits House chambers at the state Capitol on April 20, 2017. (Photo by Joey Bunch/Colorado Politics)

Tay Anderson, the 19-year-old who lost an election for a Denver Public Schools board seat last month, says in a Facebook video posted Wednesday that he hasn’t picked a gubernatorial candidate yet — because none of the Democrats running have enunciated a specific set of progressive positions Anderson says are required to get his endorsement.

But because it’s Facebook, one of the six Democratic candidates, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, drops by to remind Anderson that he’s outlined a policy that satisfies one of the young man’s prerequisites,  to get the state to 100-percent clean energy. Later, Anderson gives a shout-out to Polis for being the only candidate to reach out in response to his video, although he stresses that it’s an acknowledgment, not an endorsement.

Anderson does, however, offer his full support to state Rep. Joe Salazar’s campaign for attorney general. In the video, Anderson says he’s behind the Thornton Democrat “because he understands what it means for black lives to matter, he understands what it means for Chicano and Latino lives to matter, he understands what it means for indigenous people’s lives to matter, he understands what it means for minorities coming together and representing the entire state.” Salazar is one of five Democrats running for the office held by Republican Cynthia Coffman, who is running for governor rather than seek a second term.

A recent Manual High School graduate, Anderson was the youngest candidate for school board in state history when he ran for a northeast Denver seat in the November election. Jennifer Bacon, backed by the teachers’ union, won the seat, ahead of incumbent Rachele Espiritu, a supporter of the DFER agenda. Anderson came in third.

“Who am I going to support for governor?” Anderson says in the Facebook video. “Nobody.”

Anderson says he can’t get a candidate to say he or she will “ditch the I-70 ditch or end criminalizing the homeless or denounce Democrats for Education Reform or explain their plan to get to 100-percent clean, renewable energy. … I need a governor candidate to come out there and be on the front lines of the community.”

In addition to Polis, Democrats running to succeed term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper include former Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, State Treasurer Cary Kennedy, former state Sen. Mike Johnston, businessman and civic leader Noel Ginsburg and  entrepreneur Erik Underwood.

While he isn’t ready to endorse, Anderson notes he has started some winnowing. He says he won’t support Johnston, a DFER darling. But Anderson three early favorites — Polis, Kennedy and Ginsburg.

“Do the work before you endorse,” Anderson tells viewers. “Listen to the candidates. I’ve been listening since every one of them announced. Ask them the tough questions. Ask them what they believe in.”

Precinct caucuses are March 6 and the primary election is June 26.

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.