DENVER – Colorado stuck with Bernie Sanders at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia on Tuesday in a bittersweet moment, as Sanders acknowledged loss and signaled unity.
The 78-member Colorado delegation cast 41 votes for Sanders, to Hillary Clinton’s 36. One member of the delegation, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, abstained, as he arrives Wednesday.
“There are tears of mixed joy and sadness,” said Root Routledge, a national delegate for Sanders from Durango.
The 3rd Congressional District delegates held true to their pledges along with the rest of the Colorado delegation, offering 4 votes to Sanders and 2 to Clinton.
Clinton became the party’s nominee shortly after. In a historic moment, the former secretary of state became the first woman to earn a major party’s presidential nomination.
Adding to the frenzied moment, an emotional Sanders took to the floor of the convention, joining his Vermont delegation, where he made a symbolic gesture of unity. Closing the nearly two-hour roll call vote, Sanders moved to give Clinton the nomination by acclamation.
In doing so, Sanders signaled his support for Clinton to be nominated without opposition. It was a carefully choreographed show of harmony.
“I move that the convention suspend the procedural rules. I move that all votes cast by delegates be reflected in the official record. And I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee,” Sanders said to a room that exploded with cheers and applause, as some observers cried from their seats.
His motion came on the second day of the convention, after some of his backers protested Monday, shouting over Clinton supporters.
The display of unity by Sanders came in addition to his endorsement of Clinton. He also offered endearing remarks about his former opponent on Monday at the convention.
Democrats stand in contrast to Republicans, who never came together at their convention last week in Cleveland. The Colorado Republican delegation attempted a coup against Republican nominee Donald Trump, and second-place finisher Ted Cruz refused to endorse Trump during remarks at the convention.
Sal Pace, a national delegate for Clinton from Pueblo, said it is no surprise that Sanders won the Colorado vote since he won the March 1 caucus.
“Bernie has been great for the party, bringing new people and enthusiasm,” Pace said. “Bernie knows that a Trump presidency would be terrible for the U.S. and the world.”
Routledge believes the party is now in a position to move forward together, especially given the leadership of his “general,” Sen. Sanders.
“I think it was healing for lots of us when Bernie spoke gracefully in the Democratic tradition of allowing the winner to win by acclamation,” Routledge said. “There’s a sense of acceptance by many of the Bernie delegates now that the final votes have been formally cast, but not acquiescence.”