Coronavirus Culls Democratic Senate Field (Not Really)

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Lorena Garcia (D).

As the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports, yesterday’s deadline to submit petition signatures in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary appears to have winnowed the clown-car field of minor candidates in this race by a couple of entries–with a notable exception we don’t want to give short shrift:

After weeks of uncertainty and difficulty brought about by coronavirus, Colorado candidates for U.S. Senate ran into a crucial signature-gathering deadline Tuesday with varying success.

Lorena Garcia turned in more than the necessary 10,500 signatures, but the secretary of state’s office must see whether she has enough valid ones to join John Hickenlooper and, in all likelihood, Andrew Romanoff on the Democratic primary ballot. Two other candidates turned in fewer than the required number of signatures.

“We didn’t make it, and we would have if it was not for coronavirus,” said Michelle Ferrigno Warren, who said she collected about 9,000 signatures…

Senate “candidates” Michelle Ferrigno Warren and Diana Bray both fell short in terms of the absolute number of signatures required, which in any normal situation would mean unceremonious “game over.” It’s unknown how they fared with the secondary requirement that at least 1,500 valid signatures be collected from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts, but the latter is in practice the greater logistical challenge–and, well, we doubt this important requirement was met either. As for blaming the coronavirus, while it’s true that the curtailment of public activities in the days immediately before yesterday’s deadline likely had some effect, we have trouble believing it was the real cause of the shortfall in these two particular cases. There’s no nice way to say this, but these simply were not viable candidates for the U.S. Senate.

The exception we’re obliged to make here is the one candidate who did turn in enough signatures yesterday to make the ballot–albeit barely, with a chance of disappointment if the validity rate doesn’t hold. Lorena Garcia, a Denver-based nonprofit executive and Latina activist, turned in almost 14,000 signatures. We can’t speak to the petition efforts mounted by the candidates who didn’t meet the threshold, but in Garcia’s case her field campaign deserves credit for working the lines aggressively at Democratic presidential campaign stops and other recent events. In the event Lorena Garcia does make the primary ballot, she introduces an unpredictable element to a race that was headed for a repeat of the 2010 U.S. Senate primary–in which Andrew Romanoff was defeated by his better-funded opponent Michael Bennet.

Garcia has consistently appealed to the left wing of the Democratic primary electorate, and has directed quite a bit of fire at Andrew Romanoff in particular over Romanoff’s role in the controversial 2006 special session of the Colorado legislature to pass anti-immigrant legislation–which Romanoff has only recently apologized for, and is one of the principal holes in Romanoff’s claim to be the “progressive champion” in the race.

Whether she’s a spoiler or a progressive alternative, if Garcia does make the ballot she’ll earn a second look.

20 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808 says:

    I don't know Lorena but I've worked with her father a lot and he's one of the most impressive activists in the state. So she has my vote and I hope she makes it on the ballot.

  2. kickshot says:

    According to the CO Dem Party website:

    “U.S. Senate Candidate John Hickenlooper has received sufficient signatures to get on the ballot & has therefore withdrawn from the assembly process.

    COUNTY ORGANIZERS & DELEGATES: Your future county preference polls for US Senate will now include: Romanoff, Spaulding, Uncommitted, Underwood, Zornio.”

    A max of 3 of these candidates will graduate to State from County (hopefully Uncommitted will not).

    A max of 3 will graduate from State to Primary.

    Did Hick really help himself by withdrawing? or will there be a coalescence of the non-Hick candidates to build the coalition to take him on more directly?

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Absolutely.  The more the merrier.  If both Garcia and Romanoff make the ballot then Duke will have a choice on who to vote for in the primary.  That's a win/win for him but splits the far left which makes Hickenlooper winning even more certain which can only be consoled by the distinct probabbility that Gardner won't be running against some no name with no money.

      • kickshot says:

        I was thinking more along the lines of just one candidate coming out of the state assembly.

        Will Hick let O&G and Big Pharm buy the election for him?

        Will the voters let O&G and Big Pharm buy the election for him?

        IMHO, we don't need another Joe Manchin in the Senate.

        • Voyageur says:

          Well, not everybody shares your determination to re-elect Cory Gardener.  An actual candidate who has actually won real elections appeals to me.  

          I do think its sad that a legitimate candidate like Romo is undercut by no name lefties.  

          Rally around the Hick, boys!

          • kickshot says:

            I actually won an election once … in tea party territory against R incumbents.

            I could beat Gardner and maybe you could too but you gotta do something about that attitude first.

            Nobody stays in office for life unless you're making the rules.

            • Conserv. Head Banger says:

              What election was that, kickshot? Local or state-wide?

              • kickshot says:

                It was local but that’s not important because it’s just a matter of scale.

                What IS important is that Hick can’t beat Gardner for the same reasons that Bloomberg couldn’t beat dump. Hick has too many of the same liabilities that Gardner does.

                He’s an O&G shill, afraid of the gun lobby, afraid of public appearances where he has to face constituents, etc, etc. Hick greenwashes his record and rewrites his failure in policy as “bringing the two sides together”.

                Hick doesn’t even know if he’s a capitalist.

                Hick would just be another Joe Manchin.

                Your “actual candidate who has actually won real elections” just props up a political aristocracy. You must have loved the Bush dynasty.

                • Voyageur says:

                  I was a Republican during the bush years.  You bet I loved the fact that Democrats threw away their votes on uber lefties!


                  But you do your way left thing, don quixote.  My money is on the windmills!

                  • kickshot says:

                    Ya. That investment in SCOTUS paid dividends and still does for the warmongers. Endless war. What could be better?

                    I like windmills too. And the sun. When there's a huge solar energy spill it's called a nice day.

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          Uh Garcia went the petition route like Hickenlooper so it doesn't matter if Romanoff is the only one coming out of the state assembly.  He still doesn't have any money or a win outside of his safe district.  Trust the Democratic Party voters kickshot.  If they vote for Hickenlooper by a lopsided margin than it is possible that they are more concerned about beating Gardner than you give them credit for.  Getting rid of Gardner is not going to be easy but it can be done.

          • kickshot says:

            Trust the Democratic Party voters, GG.

            Hick lost the caucus by a large margin. He's not viable anymore. Maybe Romanoff isn't either. There are other candidates still in the running. Any of them can still rise or fall. There is still time for surprises.

            Yours and Voyageur's meatgrinder politics doesn't produce anything but career politicians. When will you have had enough of the same ol' same ol? Disco is dead.



            • Voyageur says:

              Disco is dead.  So is Trotsky!  Did you see what Biden did to your Trots kyite veteran in the primaries.

              Y ou lost. Big time  

              • kickshot says:

                I won't lose unless dump stays in the WH. If it takes Biden to throw him out on the street (and into the courts where he'll spend the rest of his miserable life) so be it.

                My win will be your loss, then.

          • Duke Cox says:

            So…Cory is no longer the Senates' most vulnerable Republican?

            Only Hick can beat him.

            Okey, Dokey.

            • kickshot says:

              What you've posted there makes no sense at all.

              1) Gardner is the most vulnerable R.

              2) Only Hick can beat him.

              When someone is highly vulnerable (as you claim that Gardner is) then beating the most vulnerable candidate does not necessarily take a strong candidate (as if Hick is the strongest in the field, he's not).

              Let me reiterate:

              Hick can’t beat Gardner for the same reasons that Bloomberg couldn’t beat dump. Hick has too many of the same liabilities that Gardner does.

              He’s an O&G shill, afraid of the gun lobby, afraid of public appearances where he has to face constituents, etc, etc. Hick greenwashes his record and rewrites his failure in policy as “bringing the two sides together”.

              Hick doesn’t even know if he’s a capitalist.

              Hick would just be another Joe Manchin.

              All Gardner has to do is play the rope-a-dope ploy, say nothing but smile a lot and Hick will beat himself much like Udall did.

              Any candidate with a brain can beat Gardner at his game and outclass the greenwashed tractor salesman.

  3. kwtree says:

    Alva? Are you feeling all right? You just wrote a neutral/ positive piece about a Senate candidate who a) isn’t Hickenlooper and b) is female,  a person of color, and progressive on policy.  

    Lorena’s great. She is and will continue to be a strong advocate for all working people. Thanks for giving credit where due on the Garcia campaign signature gathering effort. (I helped; most signatures were gathered by volunteers. ).  It’s nice to have the work of a serious female candidate acknowledged (not erased, ignored, mocked or minimized) for once. 

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