DENVER – As a crowded and volatile field of political races comes a bit more into focus, politicos in Colorado are narrowing where to place their energy.
Two races continue to dominate attention, including the presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, and the U.S. Senate race in Colorado, which has five Republican candidates in the June 28 primary.
While Democrat Bernie Sanders has not formally dropped out of the race for president, he has signaled that he will do what it takes to defeat Trump, thereby helping Clinton defeat the colorful and controversial Republican.
Both Trump and Clinton are their respective party’s presumptive nominees.
In Colorado, Sanders won the March 1 caucus 59 percent to 40 percent. He earned some noteworthy endorsements along the way, including from former Colorado House Speaker Terrance Carroll, D-Denver.
In February, Carroll stood on the steps of the Colorado Capitol and declared, “A few weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night, and I realized I had caught the ‘bern.’ I had a fever of some sort, night sweats, I had some shakes.
“But it turned out, I had a ‘bern,’ and that ‘bern’ came from Sen. Bernie Sanders.”
On Tuesday, Carroll threw his support behind Clinton, becoming the first of Sanders’ high-profile Colorado supporters to reverse course, given the new field.
“As Democrats, we can be proud of a primary that was driven by substantive issues, not superficial rhetoric, in stark contrast to the race on the other side of the aisle,” Carroll said of his switch.
“However, now that the primary is over, the most important thing is for Democrats to come together to prevent a self-centered, racist, xenophobe from winning the White House.
“I’m officially with her.”
Ana Moran, a recent graduate of Fort Lewis College and a Sanders organizer, recently told The Durango Herald that she expects Sanders’ fans to coalesce around Clinton.
“Bernie supporters need to recognize what is at stake during the general election and sacrifice some of their will and vote with their minds and not their heart,” Moran said earlier this month.
Ted Cruz, the U.S. senator from Texas who hoped to become the GOP’s presidential nominee, had placed a lot of stock in Colorado.
At the April state convention, Cruz swept to victory and declared that his momentum was building.
But less than a month later, Cruz could see that his chances were slim, as Trump continued to win primaries by energizing audiences with outsider rhetoric.
Cruz dropped out, and now he is looking to candidates in statewide and local races to carry the torch.
On Monday, Cruz endorsed Darryl Glenn in the U.S. Senate race, coming to Colorado to back the candidate.
Glenn, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, hopes to knock out four other candidates in the June 28 primary to become the Colorado Republican to challenge Democrat Michael Bennet in November.
Glenn was the only candidate to caucus onto the ballot, after earning 70 percent of the delegate vote at the state convention.
“It’s crucial we elect strong, unapologetic conservatives to the U.S. Senate,” Cruz said of Glenn.
Glenn also has the support of former Alaska governor and conservative icon Sarah Palin, as well as the powerful Senate Conservatives Fund.
The FreedomWorks PAC added its endorsement of Glenn on Monday.
“Colorado is a critical battleground state in 2016, and you can be sure Democrats will pour in unlimited resources to defend the incumbent,” Cruz continued.
“That’s why I’m supporting a conservative fighter like Darryl Glenn to take them on.”