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Gabby Giffords backs Democratic congressional candidate Joe Neguse

Author: Ernest Luning - March 21, 2018 - Updated: March 22, 2018

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Former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz, and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, exit the stage after speaking during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Wednesday, July 27, 2016. (AP file photo/Paul Sancya)

DENVER — Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was wounded in a shooting in Arizona seven years ago, on Wednesday endorsed Democrat Joe Neguse, a candidate in the 2nd Congressional District.

“Colorado needs bold  new leaders like Joe Neguse who are committed to acting in the face of our nation’s gun violence epidemic,” Giffords said in a statement. “Just last year, politicians in Colorado almost succeeded in passing legislation that would have allowed guns in schools – something that, as we know, will not make our children safer. If our elected officials aren’t going to make our schools, streets, and communities safe, it’s time for us to elect people who will. That’s why we’re proud to support Joe Neguse – a strong advocate for meaningful gun safety policies – for Congress this year.”

Neguse, a former University of Colorado regent, running for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a candidate for governor. The son of Eritrean immigrants, an attorney, would be the first African American elected to Congress in Colorado history. He’s facing former Boulder County Democratic Party Chair Mark Williams in a primary in the heavily Democratic district. Political novice Peter Yu is the Republican in the race, which also includes Libertarian Todd Mitchem and unaffiliated candidate Nick Thomas.

Giffords was one of 19 people shot outside a grocery store in Tucson in an attack that left six dead. She founded the nonprofit — its full name is Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence — along with her husband, combat veteran and retired astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly.

Neguse, an attorney and the 2014 Democratic nominee for secretary of state, called the endorsement an honor.

“I am honored to receive this important endorsement and am ready to fight alongside Giffords to make our communities safer,” he said in a statement. “It’s time to ensure that background checks are performed every time a firearm exchanges hands, institute new tough federal laws against gun trafficking, bring back the assault weapons ban, and to keep fighting dangerous legislation like concealed-carry reciprocity.”

In November, Giffords endorsed Jason Crow, one of four Democrats running for the 6th Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a five-term incumbent.

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.