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October 26, 2011 09:32 PM UTC

GLBT Incumbents, Institutional Players Back Kerr

  • by: Colorado Pols

Worth noting, as FOX 31’s Eli Stokols reports:

Colorado’s most prominent gay and lesbian lawmakers and lobbyists are rallying around state Rep. Andy Kerr just weeks after a gay veteran announced that he’d be launching a primary challenge for Kerr’s seat next year.

Brian Carroll, a Army veteran who did two tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, drew headlines earlier this month when he became the first openly gay soldier to announce a campaign for elected office following the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

But, Carroll’s decision to run as a Democrat in House District 28 is also a direct challenge to Kerr, D-Lakewood, one of the strongest advocates for GLBT equality at the Capitol…

On Nov. 9, state Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, will host a fundraiser for Kerr at his Denver home along with more than a dozen other gay and lesbian lawmakers and lobbyists.

That fundraiser’s host list really does read like a who’s who of the GLBT advocacy community here in Colorado–more or less every gay or lesbian incumbent officeholder in the state, and also powerbrokers like Ted Trimpa, and Bobby Clark of the Gill Foundation. As we understand it, rallying of support for Rep. Andy Kerr is not meant to discourage upstart primary opponent Brian Carroll from getting involved in politics in the long term: Stokols reports that Carroll was offered broad support, if he would simply be willing to wait for Rep. Kerr to be term limited from running–the election after next. Kerr has been a reliable advocate for GLBT rights and interests, and there’s just no reason to depose him one term away from his limit.

Perhaps this show of support will foster a climate wherein the situation can work itself out.


34 thoughts on “GLBT Incumbents, Institutional Players Back Kerr

  1. When referring to veterans it is usually considered polite to call tehm by their rank (ie-Sgt. Jones, Capt. Smith), but I have yet to see Brian Carroll’s rank mentioned in any of the news articles abut his candidacy.

    I only ask because I simply do not want to disrespect a man who has served our country.

    As far as his candidacy goes, I wish him well and hope he uses this as a building experience to make the contacts and learn the campaign ropes for a winning campain in 2014 when the seat is open.

    It would seem the powers that be (PTB) will support the incumbent, which is not great surprise. Mr. Collins just needs to be aware their support of Rep. Kerr is not a negative reflection on him, and I hope he knows not to take it personally.

    1. And none of the stories I’ve come across on him note it either.  He’s been enlisted since 2004 in the Army, served as a paratrooper and IT admin, now serving the the National Guard.

      As to support – well, it stands to reason that GLBT groups might support an incumbent over a fresh face if the incumbent is a strong GLBT supporter.  Incumbents have a stronger voice and know their way around the system better, and therefore tend to be more effective advocates.  All other things being equal, why wouldn’t you support the incumbent?

      1. Word on the street is that Brian has gotten some terrible and unrealistic political advice from Andy Szekeres about his ability to take on a well-respected incumbent. All it has done is give Andy Kerr the opportunity to publicly rally an extremely influential constituency around him very early in the cycle.

        Too bad. The pity is, Brian has a great story and could easily be a great public servant, but as the man once said, “Ya gotta know the territory….” I hope he hasn’t totally alienated all the possible opportunities that were open to him before this. Sounds like there are still some doors open; but putting a seat at risk is not the way to open doors in this state.  

    2. According to a news release announcing his candidacy, Carroll served two tours in Afghanistan and one Iraq with Army Special Forces Information Management Division, Special Operations Command. After six years of active duty, Carroll returned to Colorado and joined the Colorado Army National Guard, 19th Special Forces Group.

      Couldn’t find specific rank info

        1. The rank of Specialist is now the sole remnant of the old Specialist 1-Whatever the Hell system that was fully abolished in 1985.  It is the named rank for the enlisted grade of E-4.

          That seems to be the highest rank that Carroll has achieved.  Which is rather odd for a guy who’s been in for seven years.  Hmmmm….

          1. or about this supposed long term, deep desire to run for office which just so happens to inconveniently primary a longtime fellow Democrat State Rep and long time GLBT activist.

            Lynn Bartels has a piece up today–Carroll’s story about why he decided to primary Kerr doesn’t jive with the facts.

            Carroll claims he originally intended all along to run against GOP Rep Ken Summers in HD 22 and that the only reason he must now primary Kerr is because of the way reapportionment shook up and redefined the districts. Only one problem with that story–the redistricting plan was finalized in September which merged HD 22 and 28 and Carroll didn’t register to vote in HD22 until October 3.

            Something stinks in Denver and it isn’t the smog.

    1. Andy Kerr has a strong following in his house district and his caucus. He has been a very successful legislator sponsoring great bills like helping schools become more eco-friendly including installing solar panels and requiring employers to provide nursing mothers a private space to nurse.

      A primary challenge to Rep. Kerr is like a Republican challenging Rep. Mark Waller in a primary. The GOP response would be the same.

        1. But it sounds like he’s a decent guy and a great prospect. He is making a huge mistake by being so impatient and challenging an incumbent that is very popular within the district. If he just waited 2 years, just 2 years, he’d probably have an excellent chance at not only the Democratic nomination, but the seat itself. I’d love to hear why Mr. Carroll thinks Rep. Kerr should be replaced.

          1. You raise the perfect question. One I would ask myself if I were in his district–what does Carroll bring to the table that Kerr doesn’t? What more can he offer than Kerr already does? Kerr has been a fantastic Rep and while I can understand Carroll’s desire to become more involved politically, I do not grasp his timing or what he thinks makes him more appealing than the current Rep.

            If he really wants to get involved and understand the inner workings of politics, his best bet would be to ask to become part of the paid staff on Kerr’s campaign and learn under Kerr’s tutelage the ins and outs of state and district politics.  

  2. is a recent graduate of the Center for Progressive Leadership. While I applaud his enthusiasm and eagerness to be a leader, as well as his political goals, I already support Andy Kerr. This is one more tragic example of a good Democrat running against another good Democrat. Want to run unopposed by other Dems? Come out to my neck of the woods (Arapahoe County) where we have to beg for volunteers to do it.

    Rumor has it he was advised to run by one of our regular bloggers here. That’s all I’ll say.  

    1. And I told him as much to his face, so I don’t mind saying it here. He’s a lovely man and would be well suited to a district without an excellent, progressive incumbent Democrat. Choosing Kerr for a primary will just burn bridges. I don’t understand it and I’m not happy with it.

      That said, anonymous accusations are kind of uncool. What if someone sees that and puts 2+2 together, gets 5, and starts going around saying that a particular person encouraged him to run–and it’s the wrong one?

  3. He was a gentleman and accepted my ribbing with good grace, but I do not support his choice to run against Representative Kerr. Andy is a great leader, a progressive who walks the walk, a wonderful family man, and generally unassailable in any way. Even Mr. Carroll (I also would prefer to refer to him by rank as is appropriate, but I don’t know it) was not able to come up with a reason that Andy does not deserve his office when I asked.

    I support Rep. Kerr and hate to see such a great potential candidate thrown away on this crazy primary. I am grateful to Mr. Carroll for his service both to his country and to the cause of GBLT equality; I am glad he is involved but sorry to see him making a choice that will limit his prospects by putting him in a position to lose a primary and get a great deal of press coverage on his loss.

    Although it seems unlikely at this point, I will continue to hope that Mr. Carroll thinks better of this and looks into more winnable races (perhaps HD27 where we have NO candidate?) for 2014.  

      1. And I haven’t asked her directly. But she seems to be focusing on others’ campaigns and enjoying her return to nursing. I personally don’t expect her to run. But I would love it if she did.

    1. When he should have just said no comment. He launches his candidacy based on identity politics, then bashes his own community and disses (actual) LGBT electeds for audaciously supporting Andy Kerr:

      “While I respect the work of our progressive and LGBT leaders, these tactics are simply politics as usual and politics as usual has not made the lives of hard working Coloradans any better.

      “The voters of Lakewood will decide who represents them, not any elected officials from outside of the 28th House District.”

      Not exactly building bridges. Brian needs to forbid Andy Szekeres from writing any more press releases. It’s embarrassing.

      1. He’s a politically savvy guy and none of this makes sense to me. I feel like I’m missing something.

        It’d be great if Szekeres could weigh in here with some insight on making that kind of statement and what the impetus is to run a primary against one of the best Reps in the Democratic Party.  

  4. I support Andy Kerr. He has been a fine representative for his district and very good for all the citizens of Colorado and I expect him to continue this for many years.

    As a part of the LGBT community and a veteran I think it is a shame that a gay vet is trying to present himself as a victim of Colorado politics and the GLBT community. Being a member of the LGBT community and a veteran does not entitle one to immediate succession over a good incumbent.

    To win you have to work hard. Yes, it is paying your dues, but that means you worked hard, met a lot of people, and earned respect from party people and voters. To work hard means you are a winner and that does not mean going around complaining about not getting LGBT support just because you are gay.

    To win also means you pick your campaigns carefully. Going up against a well liked and good representative is to not win. And, now it looks like Carroll is creating a situation that may prevent a future run in a competitive district.

    Again, I support Andy Kerr, and wish him well. I would have liked to stop in at the party, but due to lack of vacation time I cannot make the trip.

  5. Institutional players publicly announcing their backing is significantly better than the traditional way both parties have of trying to quietly clear the way for favored candidates with dealmaking and threats.

    This actually shows some respect for Carroll in that they are addressing his candidacy directly at this stage instead of throwing some extra money to Kerr for a one-sided primary fight that would leave Carroll bleeding on the side of the road. Nobody’s closing the door on a future run, and it sounds like he’s going to make a good candidate when the opportunity presents itself.

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