The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s early endorsement of former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is not sitting well with the women also seeking the party’s nomination.
Six female Democratic primary candidates urged the DSCC to consider rescinding its endorsement of Mr. Hickenlooper, who entered the race last week, saying they had all 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,” said the Monday letter from the six candidates posted on Denver7 News.
“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,’” the letter said. “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 letter was signed by six of the seven women vying for the Democratic Senate nomination: State Rep. Angela Williams, former state House Majority Leader Alice Madden, and four community leaders: Diana Bray, Lorena Garcia, Stephany Rose Spaulding and Michelle Ferrigno Warren.
Mr. Hickenlooper jumped into the race for the Democratic Senate nomination a week after dropping out of the 2020 Democratic presidential contest, becoming the instant front-runner, but the letter shows the primary won’t be a cakewalk.
He joined a crowded Democratic field that includes former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff and former state Sen. Michael Johnston, all seeking the nomination to run against vulnerable Republican Sen. Cory Gardner.The letter, addressed to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and DSCC chairwoman Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, came shortly after the DSCC told local news outlets Monday that it had given Mr. Hickenlooper its blessing.
“John Hickenlooper is far and away the strongest candidate to beat Cory Gardner, and we’re proud to support him in his run for Senate,” spokeswoman Lauren Passalacqua told Westword in a statement.
In the letter, issued on Women’s Equality Day, the six candidates also took issue with Mr. Hickenlooper, questioning his commitment over his past statements saying he wasn’t interested in the Senate.
They faulted him for rhetoric on the presidential campaign trail, where he “derisively referred to progressives as ‘socialist’ and paternally lectured us on how our progressive values will “’re-elect Donald Trump,’” the letter said.
Republicans couldn’t resist weighing in.
Joanna Rodriguez, spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, called it “shocking Chuck Schumer and Washington Democrats decided to ignore the female candidates in this race and back Hickenlooper — someone who has exhibited blatant disrespect toward women.”
The Hickenlooper campaign has yet to comment publicly on the matter.