7th Congressional District Archives - Page 2 of 4 - Colorado Politics
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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusAugust 16, 20176min5030

Former Obama administration U.S. Ambassador Dan Baer raised more than $300,000 in two weeks since entering the race to replace U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, Colorado Politics has learned.

The Baer campaign confirmed the impressive fundraising haul, though it said that it has not yet analyzed where the money is coming from. Baer said only a handful of donations came from phone calls, and the rest have come from email and social media efforts.

“It’s been a mix of people,” Baer told Colorado Politics on Wednesday.

The fundraising effort eclipses three other Democrats who have been running in the primary for months, including state Sens. Andy Kerr of Lakewood and Dominick Moreno of Commerce City, and state Rep. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood.

Kerr, Moreno and Pettersen combined for $358,000 in their first financial reporting periods, though more money has been raised since those numbers were reported at the end of the last quarter.

Pettersen topped the first fundraising period for the race, with more than $170,000. Her campaign said fundraising was restricted by her work in the legislature this year, with more than 80 percent of donations coming after the conclusion of the legislative session in May.

Kerr raised more than $104,000 in his first fundraising period. Kerr said 88 percent of the total he raised was accomplished after the legislative session ended in May.

Moreno, who had just five weeks left in the fundraising quarter since jumping into the race at the end of May, raised nearly $85,000.

The three campaigns highlighted that much of their money came from individual donors within Colorado. Supporters of Kerr, Moreno and Pettersen have privately commented that Baer benefits from a wealthy national network.

“I am not independently wealthy,” Baer responded.

A Colorado native who previously served as a U.S. ambassador under President Obama, Baer moved to Arvada after President Trump took office.

Much of the fundraising efforts in the 7th Congressional District for Democrats has been hampered by recent news that Perlmutter is reconsidering whether to run for re-election. Some financial supporters are withholding donations as they wait to see what Perlmutter will do.

A $300,000 start in just two weeks offers Baer a bit of comfort. He must still battle name recognition in Jefferson and Adams counties.

The Republican field for the seat is still developing, though no competitive candidates have yet entered the race, despite the somewhat politically mixed nature of the district.

Baer said his campaign launch video – a “bootstrap” effort, as he described it – helped kickoff fundraising efforts. The video features his work as an ambassador, taking a tough stance on Russia, while also fighting for people to “pursue happiness.”

Born in Denver, Baer grew up in the western suburbs of the city. Before serving as a U.S. ambassador – which began in 2013 – Baer advised corporations and nonprofits as a project leader at the Boston Consulting Group.

He also taught business ethics during the financial crisis, and served in the State Department during the Obama Administration.

Obama tapped Baer to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, where he was responsible for implementation of arms control agreements, addressing international conflicts, and working on human rights issues.

Baer, a 40-year-old candidate, is married to Brian Walsh, an environmental economist who advises the World Bank.

Baer said he was “stunned by the response” to his campaign launch video and social media efforts. A former professor at Georgetown University, the Democrat said he has seen contributions from former students, from colleagues he worked with at the State Department, and from other colleagues “who saw me in action in the Obama administration.”

“It’s been both within Colorado and across the country, I’ve been really touched,” Baer said of the contributions.

Shad Murib, campaign manager for Kerr, responded, “We look forward to seeing how many of his donors are from the district or the state of Colorado.”

The Moreno and Pettersen campaigns declined to comment.

When asked about the impressive fundraising haul, Baer said, “Money is necessary but not sufficient to run a good campaign.”

He added, “We have to make democracy deliver. I believe that the first step in solving problems, or the first step in addressing problems, is understanding them… I think it is right and proper that I spend several months listening before I start opining on situations. I am focused on spending as many hours of every day as I can either listening to voters or making sure that I’ll have the resources in place.

“The other thing that people have told me, ‘The only way you can win as an outsider in Colorado is if you’re able to self-fund.’ What I have asked people to do so far is invest in this campaign and invest in a different approach to the moment that we’re in.”


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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusAugust 16, 20174min1380
State Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, left, listens to a constituent at a town hall meeting sponsored by Lakewood legislators on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, at the Lakewood Cultural Center. On Thursday, June 22, 2017, national fundraising group Emily's List endorsed Petterson in Colorado's 7th Congressional District primary. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)
State Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, left, listens to a constituent at a town hall meeting sponsored by Lakewood legislators on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, at the Lakewood Cultural Center.  (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

State Rep. Brittany Pettersen – one of four Democratic candidates seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter – announced a long list of endorsements on Tuesday.

The announcement comes as Colorado Politics reported that Perlmutter is reconsidering running for the 7th Congressional District seat.

Perlmutter – who was first running for governor but then dropped his bid – had said that he wouldn’t run for re-election. But Colorado Politics learned that he is reconsidering that decision.

Endorsements for Pettersen include former Lt. Gov. and at-large Denver School Board member Barbara O’Brien, Denver District Attorney Beth McCann, former U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, former House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, and former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, to name a few.

The news release announcing the endorsements includes 26 supporters.

“In a time when many Coloradans are feeling uncertain and left behind, we are coming together to support Brittany Pettersen for Congress because she knows first-hand the challenges facing Colorado families and what it takes to overcome those obstacles,” the news release states for the Lakewood Democrat.

“Brittany is running for Congress because Colorado families who already have it tough are under assault by President Trump and a dysfunctional Congress who are threatening the lifelines families need to create better lives for themselves.”

Also running in the race are state Sens. Andy Kerr of Lakewood and Dominick Moreno of Commerce City. Former Obama-era U.S. ambassador Dan Baer is also running in the primary.

If Perlmutter chooses to run for re-election, his announcement could clear the field after the candidates raised a collective $358,000 in their first financial reporting periods, and considerable more money has been raised since those numbers were reported at the end of the last quarter.

Baer – who entered the race earlier this month – is rumored to have already collected a large haul from supporters.

The candidates have committed to staying in the race, at least until they hear directly from Perlmutter on his intentions.

“Brittany Pettersen is a leader who has earned our support because we need someone who won’t back down and won’t stop fighting to make the lives of Coloradans better,” the news release continues. “Whether it’s quality education for all students, good paying jobs in our communities, or access to quality, affordable healthcare, Brittany will ensure that regular people have a voice in Congress.”


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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusAugust 15, 20175min2210

News reported by Colorado Politics on Friday that U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter is reconsidering a run for re-election has sent a ripple across the state’s political world.

Four Democrats already in the 7th Congressional District primary race scrambed in the aftermath of the story, just as their fundraising efforts were starting to kick into a higher gear.

State Sens. Andy Kerr of Lakewood and Dominick Moreno of Commerce City, along with state Rep. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood, are answering questions about the viability of their campaigns in the wake of the news, according to sources close to the campaigns.

The three candidates have already raised a collective $358,000 in their first financial reporting periods, and considerable more money has been raised since those numbers were reported at the end of the last quarter.

Also running in the race is former Obama-era U.S. ambassador Dan Baer, who announced his candidacy this month.

Supporters of the candidates and the campaigns themselves have found themselves confused as they attempt to understand Perlmutter’s motivations.

Colorado Politics confirmed from multiple sources – including those in Perlmutter’s inner circle – that the six-term congressman from Arvada is considering a re-election bid, even after he publicly announced that he would not run for the seat again. Perlmutter announced that he would not run for re-election after dropping out of the governor’s race just three months after entering the contest.

“I really respect Congressman Perlmutter and the work he’s done to represent the 7th Congressional District, but this move is out of character for him, and I think there are already great candidates that would do a great job of representing our values in Washington,” said Jenny Willford, executive director of Emerge Colorado, which supports women running for elected office.

“Every single one of those candidates has made life and career decisions in order to run because Congressman Perlmutter gave him their word that he wasn’t running.”

Perlmutter’s decision to reconsider a run for re-election came after pressure from constituents and fellow members of Congress encouraged him to do so. But some feel a decision to run for the seat would be unfair given the momentum already behind existing candidates.

“This has the potential to create a domino effect on the ballot for other candidates who are now running for the seats,” Willford said.

The candidates themselves have so far been taking a measured approach, saying they are waiting to see what Perlmutter ultimately decides before making any significant decisions.

“Ed has served Adams and Jefferson counties tremendously as our U.S. congressman for the last 10 years. He has inspired me and his decision to vacate the seat to run for governor prompted my run to fill his big shoes,” Moreno said. “I care only that our neighbors have the best possible representation in Washington. I am confident that I will represent the 7th Congressional District well, and until Ed comes to a decision, our campaign will continue to press forward.”

Pettersen similarly said that she is going to continue to raise money and convince voters  that she is the right choice for the seat until she hears from Perlmutter directly.

Kerr’s campaign declined to comment when asked by Colorado Politics.

Perlmutter has reached out to many of the Democrats in the primary, and at least one candidate confirmed that Perlmutter was hoping to discuss his thoughts on running for re-election, which Perlmutter told the candidate was inspired by pressure to run again.

Much of the pressure came last Tuesday at a kick-off event to launch the re-election campaigns of several Jefferson County Board of Education members. Two other 7th Congressional District Democratic campaigns confirmed contact with Perlmutter, though they could not say why Perlmutter wanted to speak with them.

“This race represents an opportunity to send another woman to Congress, which is more important than ever,” Willford said. “Research shows us that women govern different than men do in important ways and they tend to be more collaborative and bipartisan.”


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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusAugust 11, 20176min3193

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter may not have “fire in the belly” to run for governor, but he has not ruled out running for re-election to Congress, Colorado Politics has learned.

Multiple sources confirmed that after Perlmutter was approached by constituents and fellow colleagues in Congress about a re-election campaign, he began reconsidering running for re-election. Sources could not speak on the record, as they were not at liberty to discuss the details of Perlmutter’s thoughts.

A re-election campaign would come after Perlmutter, a Democrat from Arvada who represents the 7th Congressional District in Jefferson and Adams counties, declared that he would not pursue the seat again.

Several Democrats have been running to replace Perlmutter in a tightly contested primary, including state Sens. Andy Kerr of Lakewood and Dominick Moreno of Commerce City, and state Rep. Brittany Pettersen, also of Lakewood. Also running in the race is former Obama-era U.S. ambassador Dan Baer.

A re-election bid by the popular Perlmutter could cripple those campaigns.

Republicans have yet to present a formidable candidate to win in the district that is dominated by unaffiliated voters.

The Democratic primary candidates have begun fundraising efforts, with Pettersen leading the pack with more than $170,000 in her first quarter. Kerr raised more than $104,000 in his first quarter, and Moreno raised more than $84,000 in just five weeks since he announced his campaign at the end of May.

If Perlmutter chooses to run for re-election, it would mark the continuation of a bizarre series of twists and turns for the congressman after he dropped out of the race for governor last month, just three months after first announcing his candidacy. He was considered to be the front-runner in the race. Perlmutter bowed out just before reporting close to $340,000 in campaign contributions in his first filing period with the state.

Perlmutter acknowledged that the landscape changed in the crowded Democratic primary for governor when U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder entered the race last month. Polis, a 42-year-old millionaire, has the ability to self-fund and raise money from a liberal base of the party.

Also running in the gubernatorial race is former state Sen. Mike Johnston of Denver, former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy of Denver and Denver civics leader Noel Ginsburg. Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne has formed an exploratory committee as she considers a run.

Some speculated that Perlmutter felt pressured to say he would not run for re-election when he dropped out of the governor’s race. In addition to saying that he had lost “fire in the belly” to run for governor, Perlmutter said the recent shooting of Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana also contributed to his decision to get out of politics.

“I know when Steve Scalise got shot, that had something to do with it,” Perlmutter said at a news conference announcing his departure from the governor’s race. “You know, I just took a good look at things.”

But after repeatedly being asked to run for re-election to Congress, Perlmutter began to reconsider the seat, sources say.

Perlmutter has reached out to many of the Democrats in the primary, and at least one candidate confirmed that Perlmutter was hoping to discuss his thoughts on running for re-election, which Perlmutter told the candidate was inspired by pressure to run again.

Much of the pressure came Tuesday at a kick-off event to launch the re-election campaigns of several Jefferson County Board of Education members. Two other 7th Congressional District Democratic campaigns confirmed contact with Perlmutter, though they could not say why Perlmutter wanted to speak with them.

For many Perlmutter supporters, the six-term congressman was leaving politics with a whimper instead of a bang. Despite many in the Democratic Party feeling that he was their best path forward in the gubernatorial race, Perlmutter still dropped out. There were tears in some of his supporters’ eyes as he also announced that he would not run for re-election to Congress.

Sources close to Perlmutter say that in “almost every conversation that he has,” someone is asking him to run for re-election. In the meantime, while he reconsiders a re-election bid, sources close to Perlmutter say he is “recharging.”


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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusAugust 9, 20174min2080

Colorado’s race to replace Democrat Ed Perlmutter in the 7th Congressional District grew by one more in the past week.

Dan Baer, a Colorado native who previously served as a U.S. ambassador under President Obama, has joined three other Democrats in the competitive primary.

“We’re at a pivotal moment. We need bold new ideas and a commitment to stand up for our Colorado values,” Baer said in a statement. “Working together, we can put our communities and our country on a path toward success in the 21st century.”

A news release announcing his campaign said that Obama appointed him to “promote American values abroad.”

He joins state Sen. Andy Kerr and state Rep. Brittany Pettersen, both from Lakewood, and state Sen. Dominick Moreno, from Commerce City.

The seat is open after Perlmutter announced that he would not run for re-election. Perlmutter was initially pursuing a run for governor, but he dropped that bid.

The Republican field for the seat is still developing, though no competitive candidates have yet entered the race, despite the somewhat politically mixed nature of the district.

Born in Denver, Baer grew up in the western suburbs of the city. Before serving as a U.S. ambassador – which began in 2013 – Baer advised corporations and nonprofits as a project leader at the Boston Consulting Group.

He also taught business ethics during the financial crisis, and served in the State Department during the Obama Administration, according to the news release announcing his campaign.

Obama tapped Baer to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, where he was responsible for implementation of arms control agreements, addressing international conflicts, and working on human rights issues.

“Dan daily maintained the delicate balance of holding the Russian government accountable for invading Ukraine and committing human rights violations against its own citizens, while also working with Russia – and with 55 other OSCE countries – on issues of vital importance to our national security,” the news release states.

After leaving the Obama Administration, Baer, a 40-year-old gay candidate, and his husband, Brian Walsh – an environmental economist who advises the World Bank – moved back to Colorado.

“We’re in a tough moment right now, but if Coloradans work together, there’s nothing we can’t achieve,” Baer said.

He said he will place a focus on not getting “trapped in deadlocked disagreements and instead seize the opportunity to search for common ground and to craft a future that will be better for all of us.”

“As tough as things are, I’m an optimist,” Baer said. “I believe in the power of Colorado common sense, and I believe that we can make our democracy work for everyone.”


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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusJuly 14, 20174min1510
State Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, addresses a rally in support of public education on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, at Denver's Civic Center Park. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)
State Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, addresses a rally in support of public education on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, at Denver’s Civic Center Park. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

Colorado State Sen. Andy Kerr, a Democrat hoping to replace U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter in Colorado’s 7th Congressional District, will report raising more than $104,000 in his first fundraising period, Colorado Politics has learned.

The campaign says fundraising was driven by grassroots and in-state donations, with 536 donors. More than 85 percent came from within Colorado. Almost three-fourths of the donations were under $100, according to the campaign.

Kerr, from Lakewood, jumped into the race after Perlmutter, a Democrat, announced that he would run for governor. Perlmutter this week bowed out of the gubernatorial race, through he said he would not run for re-election to Congress.

Kerr is one of three Democrats in Jefferson and Adams counties running in next year’s primary.

“I’m pleased with where we are, and we met our goals for this early stage of the campaign,” Kerr said in a statement. “I’m especially proud of the number of small donations – we are a grassroots campaign that represents the working families of Jefferson and Adams counties. I’m a teacher, not a D.C. insider, and most of my contributions reflect that. I’m happy that our support comes from the community I’ll represent.”

Kerr pointed to his roots as a public school teacher.

“I support Andy because I’ve known him for a long time and I know he will fight for kids and families like ours in Washington, D.C.,” said former Jefferson County School Board Chair Lesley Dahlkemper. “His work ethic, his dedication to this community, and his belief in public service, means Andy Kerr is the person we want representing us in Congress – because his values reflect our values.”

Reports are due to the Federal Election Commission by July 15. Kerr’s detailed campaign finance report was not yet available.

The other two Democrats running for the seat are Rep. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood and Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City.

Pettersen earlier this week reported raising more than $170,000 in her first fundraising period. Her campaign said fundraising was restricted by her work in the legislature this year, with more than 80 percent of donations coming after the conclusion of the legislative session in May.

Moreno earlier on Friday reported raising nearly $85,000 in his first fundraising period. Moreno announced his campaign at the end of May and had just five weeks left in the fundraising quarter.

Kerr said 88 percent of the total he raised was accomplished after the legislative session ended in May.

The Republican field for the 7th Congressional District is still shaping up. While the district favors Democrats, there is a large amount of unaffiliated voters that could hand the right Republican candidate a win.


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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusJuly 14, 20174min1610
Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City.

Colorado State Sen. Dominick Moreno, a Democrat hoping to replace U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter in Colorado’s 7th Congressional District, will report raising nearly $85,000 in his first fundraising period, Colorado Politics has learned.

Moreno, who announced his campaign at the end of May and had just five weeks left in the fundraising quarter, received financial support from over 380 individuals with an average donation amount below $225.

Moreno, from Commerce City, jumped into the race after Perlmutter, a Democrat, announced that he would run for governor. Perlmutter this week bowed out of the gubernatorial race, through he said he would not run for re-election to Congress.

Moreno is one of three Democrats in Jefferson and Adams counties running in next year’s primary.

“The momentum behind our campaign has been tremendous,” Moreno said in a statement. “Our strong start will allow me to continue sharing our message with the hard-working people of Adams and Jefferson counties. Congress needs to know that we — everyday folks who just want government to work again — are still worth fighting for.”

John Salsbury, a Moreno campaign consultant, called the fundraising impressive, given the short time Moreno had to raise money in the remainder of the quarter.

“This shows Dominick’s campaign has momentum and a message that is resonating with the people of Colorado’s 7th Congressional District,” Salsbury said. “We have a long road ahead and Dom is determined to not settle for politics as usual.”

Reports are due to the Federal Election Commission by July 15. Moreno’s detailed campaign finance report was not yet available.

The other two Democrats running for the seat are Rep. Brittany Pettersen and Sen. Andy Kerr, who are both from Lakewood.

Pettersen earlier this week reported raising more than $170,000 in her first fundraising period. Her campaign said fundraising was restricted by her work in the legislature this year, with more than 80 percent of donations coming after the conclusion of the legislative session in May.

Kerr’s campaign had not filed his report or released his fundraising totals by early Friday afternoon.

The Republican field for the 7th Congressional District is still shaping up. While the district favors Democrats, there is a large amount of unaffiliated voters that could hand the right Republican candidate a win.