Big news out of Arapahoe County this morning, where Tom Sullivan, the father of an Aurora shooting victim and a frequent witness at the Colorado Capitol in support of gun safety legislation, is announcing his run for a Colorado Senate seat in SD-27–the seat now held by recently-appointed Sen. Jack Tate, opening an unexpectedly strong challenge in a district the one-seat Republican Senate majority most certainly cannot afford to lose.
From Sullivan’s press release:
Tom Sullivan, an Air Force veteran, recently retired postal worker, and long-time resident of Arapahoe County, launched his campaign for the Colorado State Senate seat in his home district today (SD-27) as a voice for struggling middle class families…
“I’m running for middle class families. Today you can work hard and not get ahead. We need an economy that works for everyone – not just the very wealthy and well connected,” said Sullivan. “My opponent has spent his political career siding with those at the very top. As your state senator, I promise to roll up my sleeves and get to work to create economy that rewards hard work and levels the playing field for middle class families,” Sullivan said, as he announced his entry into Colorado politics and the start of a campaign inspired by his personal experience and realization that working Coloradans need a stronger voice in government.
Sullivan, a private citizen, is nonetheless a familiar name and face to many Coloradans because his son Alex was one of the dozen people killed in the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting while celebrating his 27th birthday with friends. In the wake of this personal tragedy, Sullivan became a vocal advocate — campaigning publicly for justice, victims’ rights, raising the minimum wage, equal pay, and paid parental leave.
Sullivan is running for the Colorado State Senate on his solid record of advocacy and action. The candidate promises: “My goal is to take my experiences and the things I have seen and been a part of and use it to make our community better. I believe that when we all stand together, we can be better together. I want to bring a voice of change and economic freedom to our community in Senate District 27 and for all Coloradans.”
Sullivan’s entry into this race is a very big deal, and could swing a district that might not otherwise be on the Democratic list of top targets. By contrast Sen. Jack Tate has no real advantage of incumbency being so recently appointed to the seat, and has liabilities that include sponsorship of last year’s defeated legislation jacking up interest rates on personal loans. As the father of an Aurora shooting victim, Sullivan has a powerful personal story to tell about his life since losing his son, and the stout defense of the 2013 gun safety laws he has led at the Capitol every year since.
With strong Democratic challengers emerging in state senate races across Colorado this year, what we’re seeing is a deliberate strategy to broaden the front against President Bill Cadman’s one-seat GOP Senate majority–providing a number of paths back to Democratic control of the chamber.
File this one at the top of the list.