Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 13, 20176min516

A national group that recruits candidates with a military background has endorsed Democratic Army veteran Jason Crow in his bid for the 6th Congressional District seat of five-term incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a retired Marine major.

New Politics Executive Director Emily Cherniack sent a statement to Colorado media today calling Crow, “the kind of American who never hesitates to put himself on the line for others — who runs toward a problem when he sees one.” New Politics cultivates and backs national service alumni — those who have served in programs like AmericCorps and the Peace Corps — as well as military veterans to run for office around the country. Its website touts incumbents it has supported, like Massachusetts Democratic U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, an Iraqi war vet, as well as first-time office seekers like Crow.

The left-leaning New Politics’ leadership includes alumni of the Obama administration and Democratic advocacy groups, and it recruits by and large Democrats.

Its slate of endorsements also includes a previous Colorado officeholder seeking a different post — former Colorado Democratic state Sen. Mike Johnston of Denver, who is running for governor (and appears just above Crow on New Politics’ website brag list). In case you’re wondering, Johnston’s service qualifying him for backing from New Politics was his time spent in a classroom in Mississippi in the Teach for America program.

It’s Crow’s inclination toward service, as well, that cinched the group’s support for him, today’s press release says.

“That’s how he’s dedicated his life, from enlisting in the National Guard to serve his country and help put himself through school, to serving three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army infantry officer and earning a Bronze Star, to helping lead the charge to bring the V.A. to Aurora. Washington today is full of career politicians who care more about their own political ambitions than the communities they serve, and in Jason, Colorado families have the opportunity to elect someone who will always put them first. Jason knows how to bring people together, focus on mission, and solve problems. We’re proud to support him and we can’t wait to see his servant leadership in Congress.”

Crow also served five years on the Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs, focusing on veterans’ homelessness and substance-abuse issues, and he chaired the statewide veterans committee that helped bring the Denver Veterans Medical Center to Aurora. Alongside his veteran’s credentials, Crow’s day job is as a practicing Denver attorney at Holland & Hart.

Also vying for the Democratic nomination in the 6th CD are Aurora attorney David Aarestad and Littleton resident and 2016 presidential contender Bernie Sanders supporter Gabriel McArthur. And Technology entrepreneur Levi Tillemann also has announced an exploratory committee to look into a run in the 6th Congressional District.

Crow’s support from New Politics is part of a broader Democratic Party effort nationally to develop candidates who have been in the military and thus hold greater appeal to swing voters and veterans. That long has been more of a challenge for Democrats than Republicans but is increasingly problematic for either party in the era of the all-volunteer U.S. military. Three of the last four presidents have had no military record.

The focus on appealing to veterans is particularly pronounced in Colorado’s 6th CD, which has a significant veteran voting base and includes Buckley Air Force Base. Throughout his political career, Coffman has touted his own military record in the Army and as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps. He served active duty in the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91 and in Iraq in 2006.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningMay 30, 20177min993

A local conservative organization is charging that Democrat Levi Tillemann is only pretending to be weighing a bid for Congress and has demanded the Aurora resident make his campaign official. But the former Obama administration official insists he’s staying “well within the boundaries” of federal election law and plans to decide soon whether or not to join an already crowded primary field for the chance to challenge U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in next year’s election.

Joey BunchJoey BunchMay 25, 20175min1580

Get ready for a new player in the Democratic primary hoping to take on Republican Mike Coffman in Congressional District 6 next year. Levi Tillemann would bring a rich Democratic family heritage to the race.

He also brings an impressive resume of his own, as an inventor and author.

Tillemann’s grandmother is Nancy Dick, the state’s first female lieutenant governor who served from 1979 to 1987. His grandfather is the late U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos from California, who is the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress.

His father was the highly regarded Denver businessman and inventor Timber Dick, who was killed in a car accident on Floyd Hill in 2008.

Soon after Joel Warner of Westword wrote about the large, dynamic and overachieving family that had lost its patriarch:

Eventually, 26-year-old Levi Mills and 29-year-old Tomicah Sterling should be stopping by, just as soon as the former takes a break from his research for Pulitzer Prize-winning economic writer Daniel Yergin and the latter gets away from his duties as a staffer for the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

His Wikipedia page will make you ask what you’ve done with your life.

Coffman, however, has never lost a race in his long political career, and he dispatched two big name Democrats, former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff and former Senate President Morgan Carroll, the last two elections, respectively, with relative ease.

Tillemann is on a listening tour of the district to hear ideas and concerns to map out a platform, he told Colorado Politics. The tour includes community meetings and gatherings in diners and taquerias, his campaign said.

“We are very, very serious,” he said. “I would say something very big has to happen for us not to run at this point.”

Ernest Lee Lunning of The Statesman was the first to report Tillemann’s potential candidacy..

The Democratic primary field for next year already includes attorneys Jason Crow and David Aarestad, as well as Littleton resident Gabriel McArthur, a 25-year-old Bernie Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention last year. He supports single-payer health care and free college tuition.

Tillemann’s platform includes health care coverage for all Coloradans, growth industries for the future and fighting defending “our Western heritage from corporate land grabs and climate change.”

He grew up in working-class Berkeley Park, a neighborhood that was and is very hispanic. He had 10 brothers and sisters.

“The concerns of that community were the concerns of my family,” Tillemann said

He enrolled at Regis University when he was 15 on a debate scholarship and transferred to Yale. While he works working on a doctorate at Johns Hopkins University, he founded a company that patented the highly efficient combustion IRIS engines. Here’s the story National Geographic wrote about in 2010. Like I said, what have you done?

Tillemann was an Obama administration adviser on innovative companies for clean energy and climate change and in 2015 published “The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future.” He’s a fellow for the technology think tank  New America, and he’s done commentary in all kinds of media.

Editor’s note: This blog was updated to correct a misspelling in Tillemann’s name.