“Now, the DSCC, by its endorsement, is implying that we should defer to a male candidate because you seem to believe he is ‘more electable.'”
Former Democratic Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper dropped out of the presidential race to run for a Colorado Senate seat last week. He did this after he declared he was not “cut out” for the Senate.
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) threw its support behind Hickenlooper, another old white male, even though the party always screams out diversity. The endorsement sparked intense anger among the females running to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardener.
A DSCC endorsement provides “candidates with party resources and much-needed fundraising boosts.” The progressives want this to end and have “their preferred candidates to prove themselves without help.”
Six women signed the letter: Hon. Angela Williams, Dr. Diana Bray, Lorena Gracia, MBA, Hon. Alice Madden, Dr. Stephany Rose Spaulding, and Michelle Ferrigno Warren, MPA.
The women wrote:
We are women US Senate candidates running for the Democratic nomination in Colorado to defeat Cory Gardner. We are mothers, sisters, scientists, educators, small business owners, women of color, community activists, and current and former legislators. We are powerful, qualified women. We are writing today to urge the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to reconsider its early endorsement of former Governor John Hickenlooper. All of us, like many women in Colorado and across the country, have seen well-qualified women passed over for male candidates in the workplace time and again. Those of us who have run for office before have been told to “wait our turn” and “don’t rock the boat” more times than we care to mention. Now, the DSCC, by its endorsement, is implying that we should defer to a male candidate because you seem to believe he is “more electable.” Colorado has never had a woman United States Senator and one has to wonder if circumstances such as this have contributed to that unfortunate outcome.
The ladies pointed out with DSCC’s Hickenlooper endorsement they have chosen to ignore a large voting block in Colorado:
Your premature endorsement ignores some key facts about Colorado that you may not have considered. First, Democratic and unaffiliated women have been the cornerstone voting bloc that has turned our state from deep red to blue. In every election since 2004, women have led the way. Second, the Colorado Legislature has 47 percent women. It was women who mustered up the strong force to take back the Colorado Senate in 2018. Coloradans are increasingly supporting progressive women for office. Third, three consecutive Speakers of the House have been strong women. Fourth, your decision ignores the 2018 election that saw historic numbers of women elected to federal office, many of whom were elected in seats that Washington “experts” said could not be won.
While the DSCC considers Hickenlooper electable, the female candidates pointed out the last few election cycles had men similar to Hickenlooper. Those men lost in the election. The females insist the Democrats lost these races, along with ones in Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee, because the party chose candidates “that do not truly represent communities.”
Before and during his presidential run, prominent Democrats tried to convince Hickenlooper to run for the Senate. He always stressed he is “not cut out to be a senator.” The statement bothers the women because they do not think Hickenlooper wants the job, nor do they believe “he keenly understands this moment in history.”
The Democrats have shown disdain for the hard-left portion of their party, knowing they need moderates to win elections. The females try to convince the DSCC to embrace the progressive candidates as the best way to defeat President Donald Trump and Gardner. They believe the fix lies within “significant progressive changes on healthcare, climate change, criminal justice reform, civil rights, and many other issues.”
Williams described the endorsement as “[O]ffensive.”
The frustration stems farther out from the female candidates. The Denver Post obtained email exchanges between Colorado Democratic Party Executive Director Halisi Vinson and county party officers:
Vinson’s email and the responses to it Sunday were obtained by The Denver Post. Their veracity was confirmed by three sources involved in the email chain.
“It is getting to the point that people feel, why bother showing up, as decisions have already been made by the higher-ups?” wrote Paula Ozzello, chair of the Las Animas County Democratic Party in southern Colorado. She called the DSCC’s endorsement of Hickenlooper a “slap in the face” to other candidates, some of whom are “damn good.”
The DSCC’s sole focus is to elect Democrats to the Senate. The endorsement provides Hickenlooper a direct line to national fundraising and other structural advantages.
Democratic Party officials in Clear Creek and Custer counties defended the DSCC. Elliot Jackson, who is listed as a second vice chair in the Custer County Democratic Party, said she has zero patience for intraparty warfare. Democrats should focus on beating Gardner in 2020, she said.
“The absolute ONLY thing I admire about Republicans is their unwavering devotion to doing whatever is necessary to gain power,” Jackson wrote. “They can’t govern worth a damn, because they don’t care about that, but they are masterly at getting into power. Part of that strategy is rallying behind their candidates, and convincing the public that the enemy is Democrats.”
Dana Torpey-Newman, chairwoman of the Douglas County Democratic Party, retorted that “Hickenlooper has made it clear that he neither understands nor cares about the true problems in our country.” She also lashed out that as party chair she cannot “take sides in a primary, but the DSCC…is able to put a thumb on the scale and force out candidates who comprehend the deeper roots of the societal problems we face.”
Other Colorado Democrats defended the DSCC endorsement. They reminded the female candidates Hickenlooper received “major local endorsements, including from former Sen. Ken Salazar and Rep. Ed Perlmutter, and that he won two gubernatorial races in 2010 and 2014 — two banner years for Republicans.”
One anonymous state lawmaker told Politico these women “fail to grasp the scope of the race.” The lawmaker stated the female candidates “have failed to present themselves as serious contenders,” especially since they have low fundraising totals.DONATE
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