Ken Salazar gets behind Democratic secretary of state candidate Jena Griswold

Author: Ernest Luning - August 11, 2017 - Updated: August 11, 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, a candidate for Colorado secretary of state in the 2018 election. (Photo courtesy Jena Griswold campaign)

Democrat Jena Griswold, a candidate for Colorado secretary of state, has won the support of former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, her campaign announced Friday.

“Jena Griswold has the experience, enthusiasm, and bold vision we need in our Secretary of State,” Salazar said in a statement. “She will make our elections more secure, protect the right to vote and increase transparency of our political process. Jena has and will work relentlessly to make sure every eligible Coloradan can take part in our democracy, and we would be lucky to see her take on this vital role.”

Salazar, an attorney in private practice since leaving the Obama cabinet, also represented Colorado in the U.S. Senate and was twice elected as the state’s attorney general.

Griswold is one of three Democrats running for the office held by Republican Wayne Williams, who is seeking reelection.

An attorney, Griswold worked on the Obama campaign’s voter protection team in 2012 and ran an office representing the state of Colorado in Washington, D.C., until last year. Since then, she advised the state’s Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and currently operates Denver-based Griswold Strategies, a government relations firm.

She’s also been endorsed by numerous current and former Democratic legislators, including Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, D-Denver, House Majority Leader K.C. Becker, D-Boulder, and former House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Gunbarrel.

“With my experience working on elections from Standing Rock to Colorado, I know that we must ensure that our elections are safeguarded from foreign interference and attempts to rollback voting rights,” said state Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, in a statement. “I am endorsing Jena because I know she will work tirelessly as our next secretary of state to protect the integrity of our democracy through secure elections and strong voter turnout.”

Griswold tore into Williams last month when the incumbent said he would turn over voter data to a White House election commission — to the extent allowed by Colorado law — even as privacy advocates challenged the legality of the request and thousands of Colorado voters were canceling their registrations.

“We are at a turning point in our democracy,” Griswold said Friday. “I will ensure that democratic institutions like our elections not only remain intact, but are in fact strengthened. Colorado must be a leader in elections and government transparency for the nation.”

One-time Bernie Sanders delegate Gabriel McArthur and Aurora businessman Philip Villard are also seeking the Democratic nomination for next year’s election. McArthur had been a candidate in the 6th Congressional District but withdrew from that race and threw his support behind Levi Tillemann, one of three Democrats vying for the chance to take on U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, the Republican 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.