UPDATE: Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette now updating that Andrew Romanoff may not be a U.S. Senate candidate despite today’s filing:
A representative of Andrew Romanoff said Thursday’s FEC filing was an update to previously filed paperwork and was not intended to launch a new campaign for Senate.
We’ll update when we or anybody else learns more.
The overwhelming consensus from post-election polls and press analysis is that Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado will be one of the nation’s most vulnerable incumbent U.S. Senators in the 2020 elections. With that in mind, it should surprise no one that a large number of Colorado Democrats are seriously considering a run against Gardner, setting up would could be a big and very competitive primary. Back in April of 2017, Gardner held a telephone “town hall” where he answered a question about Donald Trump’s tax returns saying “everybody should have the opportunity to release their tax returns.”
Today, everybody wants the opportunity to run against Cory Gardner.
With that in mind, we’re beginning with this post a running list of the Democratic candidates who are officially in the U.S. race, seriously considering, or maybe would make the jump given the appropriate encouragement from the right people. And as we’ll explain, there’s lots of room for this list to grow, including big names who could become prohibitive favorites upon entry:
Former Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff filed to run just today, confirming widespread rumors that he would take his second shot at a U.S. Senate seat after losing the hotly contested 2010 Democratic primary to now-Sen. Michael Bennet. Romanoff remains popular among grassroots Democrats, and has stayed in the game with his unsuccessful challenge to Rep. Mike Coffman a few years ago.
Lorena Garcia, executive director of the Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition, announced her run in late November. Although she has never held elected office, Garcia is a longtime director or numerous local political nonprofits and is a frequent presence at the state capitol during the legislative session.
Here are candidates who haven’t yet formally joined the race but are known to be considering:
Outgoing Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran has an energetic base of support among Denver Democrats, who have made no secret of their desire for her to run–but could struggle elsewhere.
Former Colorado Sen. Michael Johnston, who lost the gubernatorial primary despite large helpings of out-of-state ed “reform” support, still has resources he could draw upon for a Senate bid.
Former Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett indicated an interest in the race last year.
Trish Zornio, who seems nice but would be best described as a minor candidate in the event she files for the race.
From there, the speculation turns to potentially big names who could upset or even end a primary if they were to announce their own runs. This would include Rep. Ed Perlmutter and freshman Rep. Joe Neguse–and yes, even Gov. John Hickenlooper in the event he reconsiders a run for President. Cary Kennedy was another potential first tier candidate, but she just took a high-level position in Jared Polis’ administration.
Again we’re not intending this to be a comprehensive list, and names are likely to come and go before we get to anything like a final slate of Democratic primary candidates. The multitude of qualified candidates on the Democratic bench, combined with Gardner’s widely-recognized weakness, means this is going to be a compelling primary.