Newspaper endorsements for candidates on Colorado ballots have continued to trickle in as the 2020 election neared the finish line.
While not every newspaper makes an endorsement, those whose editorial boards have published their recommendations appears to be on the increase after years of decline. Endorsements represent the conclusion of newspapers' editorial boards — or in rare cases at small newspapers, their opinion editor — which are separate from their news operations.
The (Colorado Springs) Gazette, which struck its own course in each of the races noted below, is owned by Colorado Politics' parent company, Clarity Media.
Here's a look at how the state's periodicals landed in the most high-profile races, for president, the U.S. Senate and the open 3rd Congressional District seat.
Colorado isn't the crucial presidential battleground it has been in recent cycles, with Democrat Joe Biden holding a steady, double-digit lead over Republican Donald Trump since pollsters started asking voters to choose. The state's newspapers reflected this apparent lean, with just one of the seven outlets that made an endorsement backing Trump and the rest picking Biden.
The Colorado Sentinel: "Biden’s long-demonstrated honesty, integrity and experience, however, remain the most critical reasons why voters should choose the former vice president to right the rudderless nation, adrift among growing crises."
The Durango Herald: "We want a president ... who understands that the world is small and that people’s needs, climate, war and hunger require the combined efforts of many nations and not just one. Of the two major-party individuals who want the presidency, Joe Biden will come much closer. Joe Biden for president."
The Crested Butte News: "Donald’s wheelhouse is conflict and he is continually chipping away at the very foundation of the ideals of an America that is best when it is compassionate, open and a leader among global allies. He is none of that and Joe is. Vote Biden/Harris."
Colorado Springs Indy: "It is what it is. Vote Joe Biden."
The Boulder Weekly: "There are people in this country that need Biden to win. They need him because they have pre-existing conditions and need affordable health insurance or because they can’t return to their countries of origin for fear of death or because their drinking water is poisoned and they need federal support now. Vote for them. Vote for Joe Biden."
Also endorsing Biden: The Weekly Issue/El Semanario
The Colorado Springs Gazette: "Vote for four more years of economic growth, an expansion of freedom that benefits all, and an unconventional president. Shock the world and color Colorado purple again. Give our state’s nine electoral votes to President Donald Trump."
In the race for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Cory Gardner, the incumbent's Democratic challenger, former Gov. John Hickenlooper, amassed the lion's share of newspaper nods, winning endorsements from 12 papers to Gardner's single stamp of approval.
The Denver Post: "He's a man Coloradans can trust to keep their interests at heart, to make sound decisions, and to help repair our national system of governance. ... In sharp contrast, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner is excellent at playing the political game, but he has proven to have terrible judgment and communicate poorly with his constituents."
The Colorado Sentinel: "Republican Cory Gardner is ending his first term in the Senate just like he began it, as a fraud. Voters have the opportunity to send former Gov. John Hickenlooper — a trusted champion for all of Colorado — to Congress and tackle critical issues."
The Durango Herald: "On the most significant issue facing Americans, access to properly priced health insurance and medical care, Democrat John Hickenlooper easily deserves support. Republican Sen. Cory Gardner has done good things, but on this he doesn’t come close."
The Greeley Tribune: "We acknowledge that, while both candidates are strong, neither is perfect. And if he is elected, voters need to hold our former governor accountable for how he handles himself while in a new office. However, we still think Hickenlooper provides us with the best chance at better representation in Washington."
The Vail Daily: "Put simply, Hickenlooper will be the senator that Cory Gardner promised to be — the guy who’ll break from his party and be an independent voice when it’s the right thing to do for his constituents."
The Crested Butte News: "When in Crested Butte this summer, Gardner dodged an opportunity to meet with local constituents who disagreed with him. Lame. John Hickenlooper has shown he is pragmatic and down to earth and he understands that Coloradans value things like public lands and public health care. Vote for Hickenlooper."
Aspen Daily News: "[W]hile not every one of Hickenlooper’s stances throughout his political career have aligned with every board member’s policy preferences, his character and moral compass does."
The Colorado Springs Gazette: "Colorado has only one marquee politician in Washington, and his name is Cory Gardner — a man who has delivered for Colorado’s public lands, environment, and public health and welfare. Keep Colorado relevant in Washington by reelecting Cory Gardner."
Only a handful of newspapers editorial boards took sides in the 3rd Congressional District, where Republican Lauren Boebert is facing former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush after upsetting U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in the June 30 primary. The papers that did endorse, however, fell along lines similar to their positions on the presidential and Senate races. Five papers are supporting Mitsch Bush, and one is backing Boebert.
Endorsing Mitsch Bush:
The Denver Post: "We think Mitsch Bush has a good vision for Western Colorado — one that is centered on protecting and expanding public lands to promote an outdoor recreation-centered economy. She will represent their interests well in Congress, and when it comes to the national issues that affect us all, Mitsch Bush will be a leader."
The Crested Butte News: "Boebert is a staunch conservative who talks loud and carries a gun. She touts the fact that she is sick and tired of compromise. Her biggest accomplishment is apparently standing up to Beto O’Rourke. Wow! Meanwhile, Bush gets credit from both Republicans and Democrats for finding good compromise solutions as a state legislator and that matters in politics if you want to accomplish things."
Aspen Daily News: "We don’t expect any candidate to have detailed, concrete policy answers for every question asked before being elected to a sought-after position; however, as the undercurrent of emotionality grows stronger in American politics, we do hope for representatives who are grounded and able to see an issue from multiple perspectives. We feel that, in the 3rd Congressional District race, Diane Mitsch Bush is that candidate."
The Colorado Springs Gazette: "Young Republican candidates with the full package of intelligence, looks, passion, and skills to articulate good principles seldom come along. Voters in Congressional District 3 have the opportunity to elect a mom, business leader and impassioned champion of Colorado and the United States to the House of Representatives."