John Salazar, Ministerial Alliance Back Hick After Tough Stretch

John Hickenlooper and Andrew Romanoff.

Two new stories today highlight what former Gov. John Hickenlooper’s supporters hope is the start of a righted narrative for the candidate who has for months been cited as the presumed frontrunner in the Democratic Senate primary to take on Sen. Cory Gardner in November. The first is a switch of support by former Congressman John Salazar from support for underdog Andrew Romanoff to Hickenlooper, as reported by Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette:

Former U.S. Rep. John Salazar, an early endorser of Democrat Andrew Romanoff’s U.S. Senate campaign, threw his support Wednesday behind John Hickenlooper, Romanoff’s primary rival, calling the former governor the best candidate to take on Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner.

“I’m proud to announce my endorsement of my friend John Hickenlooper,” Salazar said in a statement. “He’s someone who knows how to bring people together to get things done on behalf of all Coloradans, and he’s the right choice to defeat Senator Gardner and bring change to a broken Washington.”

Losing Rep. Salazar’s support is a substantial blow to Romanoff’s campaign, who is already struggling to attract support from Latino voters due to his principal responsibility for an anti-immigration special session of the state legislature while he served as Speaker of the House. And as CBS4’s Shaun Boyd reports, another important constituency to any Democratic primary is reaffirming their support for Hickenlooper–with what can only be called a justifiable warning:

The Ministerial Alliance considered pulling its endorsement but Demmer says the African American ministers decided to stand by Hickenlooper because he’d stood by them.

“Testimony after testimony, that when I needed somebody to be there, John Hickenlooper was there. He believes black lives matter, he’s just sometimes not articulate,” said Demmer. “I think that our message to the governor is we’re with you but you’ve got to stop fumbling because if you fumble too much it will cause us to lose the game.”

Gov. Hickenlooper entered the Democratic Senate primary with powerful advantages in terms of name recognition, positive approval with a large swath of Colorado voters, and campaign experience to run and win a marquee U.S. Senate race. With the incumbent down by double digits and the political environment trending heavily against the GOP in 2020, Republicans need a perfect storm of destruction for Democrats in order to have any hope of saving Gardner’s seat.

On the ground in Colorado, this has manifested in the form of perhaps the most blatant opposite-party primary meddling we’ve seen here since Democrats took power in the state 15 years ago. Republicans have made absolutely no secret of their preference to run against somebody other than Hickenlooper, and have thrown the kitchen sink one-sidely in the primary in a clear broadcast of their own desired outcome. The latest transparent indicator of this came this week as Republicans shifted ad buys that would have originally begun after the June 30 primary to the present in order to influence Democratic primary voters.

Over the past few weeks, Republican targeting of Hickenlooper cheered on by his primary opponent has become extremely intense, and at this point no one can argue that Hickenlooper has responded well in every situation. Self-inflicted wounds from Hickenlooper’s poor handling of what turned out to be relatively minor ethics commission fines over travel he took as governor stand in contrast to the swift apology Hickenlooper offered over a video that “resurfaced” this week of Hick making a regrettable analogy about Roman galley slaves six years ago. As governor, Hickenloooper’s periodic gaffes and fumbles drove his staff crazy–even as it contributed to an authentic public persona that has in the end paid more political dividends for Hick, at least locally, than it has hurt him.

Hickenlooper immediately apologized. Brother Jeff was baffled again. The slavery reference, he says, was clearly about ancient Romans.

“This is political correctness at its worst. This is a teachable moment. Slavery not just the purview of black people,” said Brother Jeff…

All of this leads to the inevitable question–how much will this admittedly very rough patch of the campaign hurt Hickenlooper in the long run? At this point, Hickenlooper’s built-in advantages of high name ID and years of positive approval from voters remain the decisive factors in our view. Once Hick wins the primary, and he remains by every available metric the most likely winner, he will have the much-needed chance to reset his message around preventing Donald Trump and Cory Gardner from winning another term in office.

Be assured, no one wants to get to that part faster than John Hickenlooper.

61 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Diogenesdemar says:

    My ballot had been lying on the dining room for about a week; my vote for Romanoff is now in the mail.  Thanks for the reminder. 

  2. davebarnes says:

    Too late.
    I get my ballot and I complete it within 20 minutes.
    Politicians need to understand how "voting period" is not the same as "counting day".

    • dan axelrod says:

      Running joke with my mail carrier. She drops ballots in mail box. We fill them out, stamp them and hand them back to her on her way back down the street. Total turnaround…25minutes max. 

  3. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    National Republican Senatorial Committee now running ads about Hickenlooper's ethics "violations."

    The Hick campaign response is that he was found guilty of just 2 of 97 charges and the campaign properly notes the complaints were filed by a Republican organization (created by Frank McNulty for just that purpose).

  4. Duke Cox says:

    Our two votes for Romanoff are in. 

    The switch of John Salazar from supporting Andrew to Frackenlooper is not terribly surprising. If ever there was an "establishment" Democrat, J .Salazar is that man.

    Playing the odds and looking for an appointment, John? 

    • Voyageur says:

      I think our household can deliver six to the Big Hick, based primarily on Romo's pledge to "defund the police."

      That cancels dio, duke, his cat, and leaves three for victory.


      • Gilpin Guy says:

        It's two to one Hick in my household so the Colorado Pols race inches towards the future Senator of Colorado.

      • spaceman65 says:

        I've got three for Romanoff and big support to defund the police.  Though I prefer demilitarize, end qualified immunity, full civilian control, increased community policing, banning chemical weapons, etc.  

        I will probably have to vote for Hick in the fall, but not now.  He's like warm skim milk

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        De-funding the police, too?

        Andy is checking off all the left wing boxes on his job app.

        Medicare-For-All who want it or not …. check!

        Free college …. check!

        Green New Deal …..check!

        So he wants to de-fund the same police departments which in 2006 he wanted to use to assist ICE in immigrant removal proceedings?


  5. gertie97 says:

    I intend to vote for Hick. I'm not convinced Romanoff can beat Gardner.


    • NOV GOP meltdown says:

      With you Gertie.  Voted for Hick and dropped off my ballot today for that same reason.

    • notaskinnycook says:

      If the Republicans thought Romanoff could beat Conman Cory, they wouldn’t be trying to sandbag Hickenlooper. That tells me all I need to know. They’re terrified of our former governor. No, he’s not as far left as I would have him be, but Coreless Gardner has to go, and the right-leaning Never-Trumpers will vote for Hick.

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        Not sure right now is the very best time to start listening to the same people who gave us Moderatus’s fantasy girl as Governor? . . .

        . . . just sayin’.

        Maybe they realize Cory’s weasel is done cooked regardless, and are just angling for the next best GOPer they can get?

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        @Ms. Cook: “……the right leaning Never Trumpers will vote for Hick.”

        That’s how this “right leaning Never Trumper” will vote. 

        Pols progressives can have your Andrew. 

        • notaskinnycook says:

          You haven’t come to any of the meetups, CHB, so we haven’t met. That’s Mrs. Cook, And where did you get the idea that I’m a Progressive? Not from anything I’ve ever said. I’m a slightly-left Democrat. Hick, on the other hand,  is a center-right Democrat; always has been, always will be.


          • Conserv. Head Banger says:

            Sorry, Ms. Cook. And, no, I don’t attend meet-ups. Reference to “you progressives” was generic in nature, and now changed, referring to the majority of posters here.

  6. doremi says:

    Colorado Pols:  Many days I look to see if you report the foibles of Hickenlooper…from ethics violations, to contempt citations, to racially insensitive comments, to lousy debate performances, and you are either silent or discount them. 

    But alas, the true Democrats who actually do the work in their precincts to get out the votes in November and walk in other areas to get progressive Democrats elected KNOW.   They know an authentic candidate when they see one, and Hick is not it.  That’s why Romanoff won the caucuses with 55% (only 30% for Hickenlooper, the annointed one) who had to petition on, with paid petition gatherers. 

    Hick has repeatedly stated in forums and debates that he is more passionate about this race than any other he has been in (Trying to counteract his own words indicating he didn’t want to be a senator and wouldn’t be good at it.). The first time I heard him say that, I called back at my computer.  “Then why didn’t you prepare for this debate?  Then why didn’t you show up to over 20 forums?” Hick was a NO-SHOW for a Denver Democratic Party forum that took place only 4 blocks from his own house.  He was again a NO-SHOW at an Indivisible forum about 1.5 miles from his house.  He didn’t even give weasley words about having a date conflict to the Indivisble organizers. 

    Likely that brother Ken (who Hick credits for getting in the senate race) put the pressure onto John Salazar, who has not wrapped himself in glory here.   

    Hick isn’t even a team player with the Democrats. His first Supreme Court appointment was to a Republican (“Thanks to all the folks who helped get me elected.”) and during the recall fights he did not once help out his Democratic senators. We lost three excellent public servants in those fights, where he was totally AWOL.

    As one who works overtime helping (financially and shoe leather) Dems get elected across the metro area, I am sick and tired of Colorado Pols establishmentarism.   

    • Duke Cox says:

      It is so disheartening to hear from our polsters that some of them are going to vote for Hick for one reason or another. Please do not insult those of us Democrats who have seen this movie before. We know why you will vote for a compromised, corporate, acolyte. 

      Please don’t pretend to be progressives. If you vote for Hick, you are casting an extremely regressive vote for a dishonest phony. Not in any way a progressive vote.

      I am disgusted, to be honest. To date I have not heard a single one of you tell me that John Hickenlooper will make a better senator for Colorado than Andrew. Not one of you. 

      • gertie97 says:

        Duke, my good friend, I do not pretend to be a progressive. I am a Democrat, a liberal in outlook and heart. Romanoff would make a fine senator and should he win the primary, I will vote for him, of course. I think Hick would make a fine senator, too. As our mutual friend Ralphie liked to say, your mileage may vary.

        But I am not convinced Romanoff can beat Gardner. Nobody wants to answer that, apparently.


      • JohnInDenver says:

        I'm progressive on a number of issues, idiosyncratic based on my commitment to a radical version of the First Amendment, and moderate to conservative on some issues. 

        As I said elsewhere, I'm waffling.  I can find good reasons to vote against either candidate.  Neither has convinced me they would be an outstanding leader in the Senate Democratic caucus.  I don't think either one would vote against a Democratic majority. 

        The one major difference — Hickenlooper has statewide wins and polling to indicate he can beat Gardner.  Romanoff doesn't have statewide wins, and I've yet to see any polling to say he would be Gardner.  I'm not certain if the Romanoff campaign sponsored a poll and didn't get results it wanted to release or didn't sponsor a poll at all.  Granted, polls are not the final word in elections and don't necessarily indicate who would be a "better" Senator. 

        But a moderate/corporatist with better indications of becoming a Senator beats an progressive/activist with a chance of being a Senator.


    • Poor Napoleon says:

      Romanoff is "authentic"?  The only thing "authentic" about Romanoff is that he's authentically a power-hungry shitheel.  This year's Romanoff is a Berniecrat darling hoping against hope that no one remembers the craven House Speaker who rammed thorough draconian immigration legislation in 2006, or the would-be middle-of-the-road deficit hawk who got blown out by 8 points in the CO-6 race in 2016.  The spectacle of watching gullible "progressives" stump for this floundering popinjay is as laughable as it is asinine.

      • Voyageur says:

        Trump stinks!

      • Voyageur says:

        Oh, give me a break.   Romo was a fine speaker and is a good man. Hick was a fine governor and, based on the record, is a lot more electable.

        But this business of screaming at each other over the minor differences between two fine candidates is stupid.

        Let's raise a cup of fracking fluid and toast to victory in November.

      • Duke Cox says:

        Your characterization of Andrew as a “floundering popinjay” is cute, but stupid. Perhaps a reflection upon the embarrassing prospect of finding a way to defend our fracking fluid sipping, credit stealing, ethically challenged, former governor, would be better. 

        You might be able to say something of note were you to address yourself to the task of explaining to us what makes Hick the best person for the job. It may come as a surprise to you, but many of us know all three candidates. So, no bullshit…OK?

        Tell us again, how hard your Oily Boy will work for the benefit of all Coloradans, instead of setting up his next run for president… which is his real motivation. You don’t really believe Hick has any interest in BEING a senator? If you do, you don’t know the man.
        post script… referring to anyone as a popinjay when Hickenlooper is in the discussion is just a little too hypocritical, don’t you think? Giddy-up.

    • MADCO says:

      I am so sick of hearing about the caucus and real Ds

      The caucus is pointless – and has been for some time

      Seriously – irrelevant. Without purpose, meaning or impact.

      This candidate loves and is loved by the caucus. So what?

      That candidate disdains and is didained by the caucus.  Who cares besides the misguided and poorly focused?

      Elections are not about caucus. And , sadly, caucus is not about elections.

      Elections are about winning.
      Just win.


      With the prior rules, it used to be that even tho caucus was exclusionary and elitest, reinforcing the idea that there is or was a real Dem it was candidates advanced.
      But now – it’s more about voters who vote.


      At the last update (recent)

      Colorado Active registered voters (I assume inactive voters are dead, moved or are too indifferent to vote)
      D:  1,052,517
      R:   969,495
      U:   1,393,617

      Unaffiliated candidates should have their own primary ballot and should crush every election.

      … … … well… that’s just… dumb?

      Colorado should have open primaries and any candidate with at least 15%  of the cast votes would be on the general election ballot. No petition, no caucus, no party favoritism.  The candidate can be on the ballot with or with party affiliation

      Parties could caucus all they want. But no ez channel from caucus to ballot. 15% in an open primary or shut up and go home. Well – you don’t have to go home, but you do not get to be on the ballot. And you don’t have to shut up – but you’re not on the ballot.

      No one has yet explained to me why after all the real D and D caucus love Mike Miles lost. Cary Kennedy lost. And other real D caucus winners lost.

      Andrew Romanoff lost. First to Senator Bennet in a looong primary. Then later in the CD6 general. But all the caucus going real Ds loved him so so much.

      Why did he lose?

      As one who works overtime trying to educate voters and potential voters about issues important to progressive voters I am sick and tired of elitiest exclusionary party hacks telling me what to do and how to win when they have a track record of losing with the better candidate.

      Winning with a poor candidate is so much better than losing.


  7. Genghis says:

    Romanoff won our house 4-0, but I expect Hick to win the primary comfortably. At that point we'll need to hide our pooches, because the buffoons running Hick's campaign will attempt to screw every last goddamn one of them between now and November.

  8. lilyflower says:

    Put my ballot in the mail yesterday for Hick.

  9. bullshit! says:

    Hick fucked up several times. These fuckups are almost all on Hick personally. He gaffes under pressure and this was the price we had to pay for Hick.

    But Pols is right that underneath these fuckups there's a genuine candidate with a good Democratic record who voters like. I've cringed plenty of times when Hick said something I wouldn't have, but he also did a lot of really good things from gun control to health care.

    As for Andrew, he has fucked progressive Democrats just about on every issue. The Bernie Bros supporting him don't know his record, and if they did they would know they're being played. I will support Andrew if he beats Hick in the primary of course. I'm just under no delusions that he's any better than Hick on the issues, and his campaign is a joke compared to Hick's.

    For all these reasons I'm voting for Hickenlooper to retire Cory Gardner.

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