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.