“Fauxgressive”–Lorena Garcia Unloads On Romanoff

Andrew Romanoff.

With Democratic ranks closing and polls signaling the outcome of the 2020 Democratic U.S. Senate primary election will not be close, the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter adds to du jour reporting on the trouble challenger Andrew Romanoff has had laying claim to the mantle of “progressive champion” in the race to flank the frontrunner John Hickenlooper, after a long record of political centrism in office and as a candidate in prior elections based on political expediency.

The point is expressed by none better than the most authentic “movement progressive” who ran in the Democratic Senate primary, community activist Lorena Garcia:

Lorena Garcia, arguably the most progressive candidate to run for Senate in Colorado this year, disagreed often with Romanoff, whom she calls a “fauxgressive.”

“I think there are efforts to unify the progressives around Romanoff, but it’s not working,” Garcia said Wednesday.

“I think it’s not working because many of these progressive leaders who are now pushing energy his way had originally denounced Romanoff when he entered the race and are now trying to claim he is the progressive champion. This is not only insincere, it’s inauthentic, and progressives demand authenticity. People may still vote because he says the right things, but the excitement for this race is gone.”

Garcia’s complaint about Romanoff’s “inauthentic” brand echoes what we’ve heard from just about everyone who has actually been involved in Colorado politics going back to Romanoff’s heyday in the mid-aughts. Fifteen years ago, Andrew Romanoff was the epitome of a calculating technocratic centrist politician, no more apparent than in the 2006 anti-immigrant special session in which Romanoff permanently alienated many of the state’s politically involved Latinos. In 2014, when Romanoff had his sights on a swing congressional seat, he came out for a federal balanced budget amendment and turned against single-payer health care.

Because Romanoff in the 2020 primary has embraced all of the ambitious bullet points of the nationwide progressive Democratic agenda, there’s a natural tendency on the part of supporters of that agenda to channel their anger into this race as a proxy for the larger battle. The problem, as Garcia explains very well in today’s story, is that Romanoff is simply not a credible advocate for that agenda having campaigned on both sides of every major issue from energy to health care to immigration–and for all of the fervor of Romanoff’s supporters, this is why is has not been able to consolidate support even on the left side of the Democratic coalition.

It’s not about having the perfect candidate. It’s about having an authentic candidate.

If the polls are right, that will be the story of this primary.

47 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. RepealAndReplace says:

    Yikes, it's getting nasty and it doesn't need to be at this point. 

    • bullshit! says:

      Andrew drew first blood. That shit with the Catholic priests was beyond the pale.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      Few years ago, it was “both ways Bob” running for governor. Now it’s “both ways Andrew” running for senator?

      Seriously, when I’m in a room with a far-leftie like Ms. Garcia, I keep one hand, figuratively, in my pocket on top of my wallet.

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        "Any Which Way Andy" has a better ring to it but you're right, CHB.

        Why are you so protective of your wallet? Are you part of the infamous one percent?

        I thought only the very rich would be fleeced by the far lefties.

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          R & R: I only wish I was part of the infamous “one percent.” If I was, I’d be showering more money onto some valuable non-profits that I’ve been associated with, and which are hurting big time these days.

          As for my wallet, you may have forgotten one definition of a liberal: “someone who dreams up creative ways to spend other peoples’ money.”

  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    I can’t tell you how happy I’ll be when you all finally tire of your endless shitting all over a very good man . . . 

  3. Duke Cox says:

    An authentic candidate? Are you speaking of the John Hickenlooper I knew, or has he morphed into something else?

    Seriously, Alva.

  4. kwtree says:

    So…please tell me how John Hickenlooper is an “authentic” candidate. They’re both obviously politicians, with one finger in the wind, waiting to see which way winds of opinion blow so that they can jump in front of the parade and “lead” it. Risk-takers like Sanders, Warren, Ocasio-Cortez, Lorena Garcia herself, are exceptions to the rule for politicians.

    Both Senate candidates have compromised, made deals with the devil, and carry political baggage from past positions they took (or avoided taking, in Hick’s case). Romanoff has at least admitted wrongdoing and pledged to do better.

    Perhaps I missed the part where Hick fessed up that he was wrong about cannabis, wrong to nominate Vaad to the PUC, wrong to sue Longmont over local control? And wants to do better? Please point to when your authentic candidate has been honest with voters.

    However, my vote has gone to the person who will support the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, who engineered the BEST grants that built a new school in Brush and other rural towns, who has consistently supported cannabis legalization, and that I think will not be the new Joe Manchin / Joe Lieberman / John Salazar DINO.

    Romanoff will not be that one vote that sinks the progressive policies I care about. Hick will.


    ps. How hard did you have to look to find a “snarling Romanoff” picture to grace your hit piece?

    • Voyageur says:

      ​​​​Squirrel! Hickenlooper!

      Tee hee



    • Duke Cox says:

      I recommend the REST of the article cited, in which the author gets other opinions, not mentioned here.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      @kwtree: “Please tell me how John Hickenlooper is an “authentic” candidate……”

      I’m still waiting for you to answer my question from a couple days ago; the source for your comment that Hickenlooper would want to open up wilderness areas for oil & gas drilling.

      Asking for a friend……..

      • kwtree says:

        CHB, I answered your question on Thursday, attached to your original comment. Here’s the link

        Basically, Hick has chosen to “protect” the sage grouse by a state compact, rather than listing it under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The Federal designation is stricter, and would further limit energy extraction on grouse habitat.  Hence, Hick ( and 10 other western governors) are going the complicated route of the Sage Grouse Conservation Plan, which is admirable, but has no legal teeth. 

        This follows Hick’s pattern of leaving big policy decisions to the states, rather than pushing for one clear over arching federal policy. It’s what he did on cannabis reform. It’s the waffle weave way. It looks like reform, but isn’t.

        Recently, Hick approved Trump’s plan to open up 240,000 acres of western sage grouse habitat for drilling. That seems ominous for future decisions about public lands. Even with a Democratic President, the oil and gas lobby will be rich and strong, and they have a willing advocate in Hickenlooper. 

        And Hick made only mild objections to the relocation of the BLM to Grand Junction, even though it obviously was a ploy to gut the agency and make land use decisions more convenient for industry to get in on, with less oversight. 

        While Hickenlooper is an enthusiastic advocate for Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry, his calculation seems to weighted heavily in favor of industry. That’s also true when the conflict is about public health vs industry profit, which is where most of my beef with Hick comes from.

        So there ya go. That’s the short version of what I wrote to you a couple of days ago.

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          OK. Thanks for sharing. Did not see the other reply.

          Sage grouse habitat, while important, is not the same thing as designated wilderness or wilderness study areas. And I've looked on the bright side of the BLM move to Grand Junction. Yes, industry may think they now have the BLM in their hip pocket; at least until the onset of the Biden administration in January. However, the BLM is also now on the front steps of a whole bunch of dedicated Colorado conservationists. 

  5. Extra! Extra! Colorado Pols puts thumb on Hick/Romo scale again! In other news, the sun rose in the East this morning.

  6. NotHopeful says:

    Romanoff's views on fiscal policy are a good thing. So are his abilities and demonstrated talents at working across the aisle. The man is a gifted politician, a compassionate and decent human being, and fundamentally progressive in his ideology even if he does tack toward the center in order to avoid letting the perfect become the enemy of the good. This attack on him is unfair. And, by the way, I would say many of the same things about Hickenlooper.

    • ParkHill says:

      Sorry, what fiscal views?

      In a recession, you run deficits; in a boom you pay it down.

      It depends on what you spend on. Tax breaks for the rich don't stimulate the economy. Investing in infrastructure creates jobs. 

      In other words, it isn't about "deficits" vs no-deficits, it is about demand-side economic vs supply-side.

  7. Genghis says:

    Oofa. Can't wait until 6/30. Hick will win the primary by 15% or more, Colorado Pols can drink from the keg of disgrace one final time in this race with a "neener neener neener told ya so" post dumping all over Romanoff, and then we can all move on to the serious business of defeating Coreless come November.

  8. MADCO says:

    None of this matters – but someone gets to prove a point and divide more D voters

    Support whoever runs against the incumbent

  9. Southwest Denver Dem says:

    So, now we hear from completely irrelevant Lorena Garcia. No one cares what she thinks, least of all me.

    As for Hickenlooper, all I see is a tired old white man who takes credit for the work of women. It was not his idea for the LARC program and he had to be talked into expanding Medicaid. Everything he claims credit for was the work of great women in the Colorado General Assembly. And don’t get me started on ignoring subpoenas and that whole, aww shucks, I’m not cut out to be a Senator shtick. You can bet that’ll be on a loop ad nauseum in the General if he wins this Primary. All that frankly makes him the much weaker candidate to beat Cory.

    Andrew has his warts and I really would have liked to have seen a woman on the ballot for US Senate (not Lorena though) but he’s taken his lumps and apologized. He’s also the only candidate who’s willing to talk about and move forward progressive ideas.

    As far as electability and who can beat Cory Gardner come November, well, the proverbial yellow dog Democrat has a better chance than Cory. Andrew can do this, hands down.



    • RepealAndReplace says:

      “He’s also the only candidate who’s willing to talk about and move forward progressive ideas.

      Which may explain why Andrew is polling at 28%.

      By the time votes are counted on Tuesday, Romo should get around the same 37% that Bernie got in March.

  10. JohnInDenver says:

    Neither campaign & backers of Hickenlooper or Romanoff impressed me this past week.  The outside observers and activists who don't like either one haven't impressed me, either.

    Garcia may be correct that the progressive left didn't rally around Romanoff because he doesn't have a long-time affiliation with them.  If that is the case, I expect there will be a sizeable number who chose not to vote in the primary, as NONE of the candidates I've seen for Senate or House can claim long-time affiliation with the left wing of Colorado's Democrats.

    • 2Jung2Die says:

      I'm interested in the definition of "long-time" here. I've been in Colorado for many moons, yet don't really recall a heavy critical mass of super-far-left in competitive political circles before Bernie 2016. By "competitive" I sort of mean not the occasional Arn Menconi running in every race possible, but maybe a serious quantity of Joe Salazar types. Before Bernie, I've had the general impression that Coloradans running for higher office outside of Denver or Boulder normally had to consider some of our purple-state conservative/libertarian leanings, and at the bare minimum adopt some centrist platform positions. By those standards, is nearly anyone who ran before 2016 now unable to claim progressive credentials?  

      • JohnInDenver says:

        One "leftist" acquaintance of mine was a passionate backer of John Edwards in 2008 — almost certainly one of the 102 caucus votes he got that year.  Kucinich and Gravel did worse.

        I vaguely remember people saying Mark Udall was a liberal Democrat, too.


        • MichaelBowman says:

          …and by “people” you mean dick? 

          Dick Wadhams’s formula for a GOP comeback: Hit harder, faster!

          [C]olorado Republican Party chairman and legendary pitbull Dick Wadhams (pictured) is among those leading the charge. “Defining the terms of the debate early on is terribly critical,” he tells reporter Reid Wilson, using as his example the decision to repeatedly flog Democratic senatorial candidate Mark Udall with the label “Boulder liberal.”

          • Duke Cox says:

            I notice Turdblossom has crawled out of the septic tanks, as well. Once a grifter…

          • JohnInDenver says:

            Sorry, I should have put in the snark tag.

            2008 — the Colorado "left" mustered fewer than 200 votes at the state assembly, scattered among 3 candidates.

            And Mark Udall in 2008 was "the left" candidate — but on most topics, he actually was a pragmatic, transactional politician.  I did some calling for his campaign … and looking around the room, there were lots of white 40-60 year olds, suburban Denverites:  scarcely the vanguard of the left.  [Other phone rooms were likely different.]

            That was the closest to "heavy critical mass of super-far-left in competitive political circles" that I saw.

            • 2Jung2Die says:

              Sorry, the comment about the hippy van was meant for Bowman.

              For JiD – I got the snark, and your specific memory of pre-2016 seems to match my general impression. Winning statewide in Colorado’s a different animal than winning a strong liberal district. Maybe the 2018 wave year hints at a safer blue future, I sure hope so, but would folks really advise a candidate making appearances west of Summit County, south of Greenwood Village, or east of Aurora to come off as a democratic socialist?

            • MichaelBowman says:

              JiD – I got the snark, just couldn’t pass up the chance to stroll down memory lane with ol’ dick !! 

          • 2Jung2Die says:

            I can picture ol' Wad in a screening room just laughing his ass off about the '08 ad where pot smoke was billowing out of Udall's VW hippy van!

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