Another Front Opens: Tom Sullivan Runs In SD-27

sullivanBig news out of Arapahoe County this morning, where Tom Sullivan, the father of an Aurora shooting victim and a frequent witness at the Colorado Capitol in support of gun safety legislation, is announcing his run for a Colorado Senate seat in SD-27–the seat now held by recently-appointed Sen. Jack Tate, opening an unexpectedly strong challenge in a district the one-seat Republican Senate majority most certainly cannot afford to lose.

From Sullivan’s press release:

Tom Sullivan, an Air Force veteran, recently retired postal worker, and long-time resident of Arapahoe County, launched his campaign for the Colorado State Senate seat in his home district today (SD-27) as a voice for struggling middle class families…

“I’m running for middle class families. Today you can work hard and not get ahead. We need an economy that works for everyone – not just the very wealthy and well connected,” said Sullivan. “My opponent has spent his political career siding with those at the very top. As your state senator, I promise to roll up my sleeves and get to work to create economy that rewards hard work and levels the playing field for middle class families,” Sullivan said, as he announced his entry into Colorado politics and the start of a campaign inspired by his personal experience and realization that working Coloradans need a stronger voice in government.

Sullivan, a private citizen, is nonetheless a familiar name and face to many Coloradans because his son Alex was one of the dozen people killed in the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting while celebrating his 27th birthday with friends. In the wake of this personal tragedy, Sullivan became a vocal advocate — campaigning publicly for justice, victims’ rights, raising the minimum wage, equal pay, and paid parental leave.

Sullivan is running for the Colorado State Senate on his solid record of advocacy and action. The candidate promises: “My goal is to take my experiences and the things I have seen and been a part of and use it to make our community better. I believe that when we all stand together, we can be better together. I want to bring a voice of change and economic freedom to our community in Senate District 27 and for all Coloradans.”

Sullivan’s entry into this race is a very big deal, and could swing a district that might not otherwise be on the Democratic list of top targets. By contrast Sen. Jack Tate has no real advantage of incumbency being so recently appointed to the seat, and has liabilities that include sponsorship of last year’s defeated legislation jacking up interest rates on personal loans. As the father of an Aurora shooting victim, Sullivan has a powerful personal story to tell about his life since losing his son, and the stout defense of the 2013 gun safety laws he has led at the Capitol every year since.

With strong Democratic challengers emerging in state senate races across Colorado this year, what we’re seeing is a deliberate strategy to broaden the front against President Bill Cadman’s one-seat GOP Senate majority–providing a number of paths back to Democratic control of the chamber.

File this one at the top of the list.

8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. BlueCatBlueCat says:

    Great credentials for a Dem trying to defeat an R. Military experience is good for a Dem.

    Being a reserve officer/diplomat working things out with Iraqi counterparts and teaching Iraqis about running local democratic institutions with his experience as a former Mayor of Glendale, really helped Joe Rice back when he took the HD38 seat.  His rise was pretty stellar, advancing about as quickly as possible up to full Colonel from Major as a highly sought after staff officer for various missions with a talent for working with the Iraqis while serving in the Leg.  Now he's in the private sphere and loving it too much to put up with the aggravation of elected politics again! Too bad for us. Great for him and his family.

    That patriotic, serving his country cred was a major factor in getting moderate Dem Joe Rice elected in previously super safe red HD38 (south suburban including Littleton). Should be helpful for Sullivan, too. 

    • Wong21fr says:

      It's rather too bad that Rice couldn't be convinced to somehow run against Coffman, he's the sort of candidate that the Dems should be putting up in CD6, not political hacks like Carroll and Romanoff. 

      Are there any Joe Rice-esque Democrats waiting in the wings?

      • BlueCatBlueCat says:

        Strongly disagree on Carroll as a hack but no, Joe is still definitely not interested as far as I know. He's doing very well in the private sector, happy in his career and with having more time for his young family. I haven't been involved in local politics lately so don't know who's in the wings. Guess I'll catch up on all the latest at caucus.

  2. Big Time says:

    Go Tom!

    Go Dems!

    Compete in every district and make the GOPers play defense everywhere.

    Like it.

  3. FrankUnderwood says:

    He sounds like a great candidate. A win for Sullivan in that district would have tremendous symbolic value, too. That is the district that the titans of the Colorado GOP like Bill Owens, Mike Coffman and John Andrews.

  4. Les Ismore says:

    A good man. Will do everything to support him.

  5. ZMulls says:

    I can't even begin to imagine the horrific pain and grief this man has gone through from the tragic murder of his son. And it sounds like he is prepared to advocate an agenda that will benefit working-class families in Colorado.  If there is a downside, it is that his selection as a candidate constitutes the complete abandonment by the Democratic Party of a once-promising effort to abolish Colorado's wasteful, racist, uncertain, and unfair death penalty once and for all.  Which is disappointing.  

    • gumshoe says:

      This is a great pick. Tom Sullivan has high name ID and a great story. An abandonment by the Democratic Party to abolish the death penalty would be running a paper candidate — not Tom Sullivan. The death penalty can only be abolished if Republicans lose the senate in November. 

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