Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced his endorsement this week of James Iacino in the Democratic primary for the 3rd Congressional District.
A former deputy attorney general under President Barack Obama’s administration, Weiser said Wednesday in a news release that Iacino has the “experience needed to ensure the voices of Western and Southern Colorado are heard in Congress.”
“At this critical time, we need more leaders like James Iacino who can bring the best of Colorado values and creative problem-solving to Washington,” Weiser said.
The endorsement comes as Democratic candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives have to get creative in how they rally voters for the June election, since there is a statewide stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Over the past two weeks, Iacino has held virtual meet and greets and posted COVID-19 resources for each county on his campaign website. Iacino also launched Java with James, a series of virtual conversations with voters.
“I’m honored to have earned Attorney General Weiser’s endorsement,” Iacino said Wednesday. “In communities from Dove Creek to Creede and La Jara, he is held in high regard, and I look forward to continuing the trust he has built by representing their best interests in Congress.”
As a small business owner of Seattle Fish Co., Iacino said he is experiencing the economic toll of the COVID-19 outbreak alongside everyone else.
About the most recent legislation from Congress, Iacino said he is fighting for faster implementation and “getting money into the hands of people who need it.”
“We are focusing on getting immediate help to folks who have been laid off and who need it right now,” Iacino told The Durango Herald in an interview.
A former congressman for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, John Salazar, also endorsed Iacino in February. Salazar is the last Democrat to have represented the district in the U.S. Congress.
“Partisan special interests have left us behind, and James’ record of building strong working relationships and bringing people to the table is what we need to make sure our communities are thriving in the future,” Salazar said in a statement.
Diane Mitsch Bush and Root Routledge are running against Iacino in the primary, both of whom are reaching out to voters virtually as well.
Mitsch Bush has received endorsements from former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., as well as the National Organization of Women. Mitsch Bush also garnered 60% of the delegates thus far in the county assemblies. In response to the stay-at-home order, she plans on increasing the number of virtual town halls leading up to the election.
Robin Logsdon, Mitsch Bush’s campaign manager, said that Mitsch Bush has a “long background of taking domestic violence very seriously,” and she is continuing to do so now that victims of domestic violence could be forced to stay confined at home with abusers.
Logsdon said Mitsch Bush also recognizes the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on rural communities, as clinics in these areas tend to have very few beds. In Congress, Mitsch Bush said she would advocate to develop more federally qualified health clinics and facilities in the rural areas.
Meanwhile, Routledge’s campaign has largely focused on climate change. But in a video message to delegates in the Colorado assemblies, Routledge said the COVID-19 outbreak has “shocked short-term capital markets and it has exposed how fragile our societal systems are.”
Routledge is calling for sweeping changes like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, which will solve “technical systemic issues” with “justice and fairness,” Routledge wrote on his website.
Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District will vote on the Democratic candidate June 30.
Emily Hayes is a graduate student at American University in Washington, D.C., and an intern for The Durango Herald.