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Montana Governor Steve Bullock tapped to keynote Colorado Democrats’ annual dinner

Author: Ernest Luning - January 20, 2018 - Updated: January 20, 2018

Montana's Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock (Courtesy Bullock via his campaign Facebook page)Montana’s Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock (Courtesy Bullock via his campaign Facebook page)

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock will deliver the keynote address at the Colorado Democrats’ Obama Dinner in February, the party announced Friday.

Bullock, the state’s former attorney general, is serving his second term as governor and is occasionally mentioned as a possible Democratic presidential candidate in 2020 — sometimes in the same breath as Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

“I believe the time is right to lend my voice, the voice of someone that after getting elected has been able to govern in what’s viewed as a red state,” Bullock told The New York Times last summer when he created a federal political action committee, potentially laying a foundation for a national run. “Some of the things that I’ve been able to do in Montana can also translate beyond just the state’s border.”

A spokesman for the Colorado Democratic Party noted that Bullock won reelection by 4 points in 2016, the same year Donald Trump carried Montana by 20 points.

“We’re thrilled that Gov. Bullock will be the keynote speaker at our dinner, and we look forward to learning from his experience running as a Democrat in a rural state in a tough electoral environment,” said Colorado Democratic Party chair Morgan Carroll in a statement. She added that Bullock’s win in a largely rural state “shows that our message can resonate everywhere.”

The state Democrats’ signature annual fundraising dinner — it was known for a couple of years as the Annual Diner and was known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner before that — is set for Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Hilton Denver City Center, the downtown hotel that used to be called the Marriott Denver City Center. Tickets to the dinner are $150, with full tables going for as much as $10,000.

Other speakers scheduled for the dinner include Hickenlooper, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennett, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, House Speaker Crisanta Duran and Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, all Denver Democrats.

Hickenlooper, Duran and Guzman, who are all term-limited after the November election, will be honored by Carroll with the Chair’s Service Award.

The party plans to honor other Democrats at the dinner, including Rising Star Award winners Crystal Murillo, Nicole Johnston and Allison Hiltz, who all won election in November to the Aurora City Council; Routt County Democratic Party Chair Catherine Carson, the Democrat of the Year; tennis pro Meike Babel, Volunteer of the Year; and Rio Grande County Democratic Party Chair Jesse Guerrero and Washington County Democratic Party Chair Nancy O’Dell, recipients of the new Rural Outreach Award.

Previous keynote speakers at the dinner have included former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker when he was mayor of Newark, New Jersey.

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.