Duran Glenn DNC RNC

House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, speaks during the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, left, and Darryl Glenn, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Colorado, speaks during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

If Coloradans needed any more proof of the proposition that the state’s nine electoral votes aren’t up for grabs in this year’s presidential election, the prime time lineup at the two major parties’ national conventions could provide it.

Over eight nights, there was something missing at last week’s Democratic National Convention and this week’s just-concluded Republican National Convention: Colorado politicians on stage, bringing the western state’s perspective to the national events.

Other than during the roll calls officially nominating each party’s standard bearer for the 2020 election, just two Coloradans appeared on screen at this year’s conventions, each speaking just a sentence or two, as members of groups of everyday Americans who took part in pre-recorded conversations with former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump, respectively.

On Aug. 18, cancer survivor and health care advocate Laura Packard was among five people who gave Biden their perspectives on the Affordable Care Act, a law she says saved her life after a 2017 diagnosis of stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma.

President Trump heard from Jessica Moskal, a patrol officer with the Englewood Police Department, who said she was diagnosed with COVID-19 during a 4-minute video recorded at the White House with other first responders and workers on the front lines in the pandemic.

As is customary, party leaders announced Colorado’s delegate vote during the convention’s roll calls, though the Democrats’ convention was the only one to hold the head count during prime time.

During the DNC on Aug. 18, Howard Chou, an immigrant and vice chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party, delivered Colorado’s votes — 42 for Biden and 36 for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, with one abstention — surrounded by family and friends in a video recorded at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre in Morrison.

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, the former Weld County prosecutor who doubles as chairman of the Colorado GOP, joined fellow RNC delegations in a convention center ballroom in Charlotte, N.C., to proclaim that Trump had received unanimous support from Colorado’s 37 delegates. The Republicans held their formal roll call the morning of Aug. 24 and then played brief clips of delegates saying the name of their states or territories during the evening’s proceedings.

It was a far cry from previous conventions, when elected officials, candidates and other prominent political personages from Colorado delivered remarks from the main stages at the DNC and RNC — numbering more than a dozen of the state’s pols since 2008, when Colorado was first pegged a crucial swing state on the presidential playing field.

Prior to 2008, Colorado politicians had their turns at the microphone during national conventions — then-Gov. Roy Romer presented the Democrats’ platform alongside California Rep. Nancy Pelosi at the 1992 DNC, and then-U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez spoke at the 2004 RNC — but only twice before that had Coloradans delivered major speeches, according to available records.

In 1900, then-Gov. Charles Thomas, an attorney who specialized in mining law and had moved to Colorado after law school to treat his tuberculosis, delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Kansas City.

While Thomas’ remarks appear to be lost to the ages, it’s a good bet he made a case for returning the country’s currency to the silver standard, because reminding the nation of the folly of abandoning silver and gold as currency standards was an “unceasing” commitment for Thomas, according to the Colorado State Archives.

The next Coloradan featured at a national convention was then-U.S. Sen. Gary Hart at the 1984 DNC in San Francisco. The runner-up in the presidential primaries delivered a rousing speech describing the stakes of the election, including the iconic line, “This is one Hart you will not leave in San Francisco.”

On the third night of the convention, before the roll call that would secure the nomination for former Vice President Walter Mondale, Hart took to the stage with a message calling for the party to pass “the torch of idealism” to a new generation and declared that the nation needed “new leadership, new direction and new hope.”

“This is not simply another national election, a choice between parties or even a contest of ideologies,” Hart said. “This election is a referendum on our future — perhaps even whether our children will have a future.”

Fast-forward 24 years to the 2008 DNC in Denver, which nearly runneth over with Colorado Democrats.

From the get-go, when former state Sen. Polly Baca — a former Democratic National Committee officer who attended her 15th DNC this year — opened the proceedings by delivering the invocation, you could hardly swing a cat without hitting a Colorado politician preparing his or her speech.

About an hour later, then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper welcomed delegates and viewers to “the energy and opportunities of the New West.”

The Rocky Mountain region, Hickenlooper said, “will be defined more by its future than its past. From mining towns through cattle ranches to solar energy farms and technology empires, Denver continually evolved.”

From the perch on the edge of the Rockies, he said, “Our altitude encourages us to take the long view. We can see that being pro-business and pro-environment go hand-in-hand. We demand collaboration and common sense. Remember, there were a lot more barn-raisings than there were shoot-outs in the Old West.”

For the last dozen years, no Coloradan has held the spotlight at national party conventions as often as Hickenlooper. This year’s Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Cory Gardner spoke at each of the previous three DNCs, first as mayor and then twice as governor.

Others who spoke at the 2008 DNC were U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, Gov. Bill Ritter and U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter, John Salazar and Mark Udall, as well as members of Denver's DNC Host Committee.

In 2012, Hickenlooper again made a case for Colorado’s unique juxtaposition between past and future at the Democrats’ confab in Charlotte, N.C.

“In Colorado, we know that western history is not just about rugged individuals — it's also about communities coming together to raise barns, build schools and, yes, to help one another,” he said on the podium. “Colorado and the United States are places that will be defined more by their future than by their past.”

Coloradans who also appeared in Charlotte that year were DeGette, who introduced a stage full of Democratic women members of Congress, then-U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, and a young Denver attorney and veterans' advocate named Jason Crow, delivering an endorsement of President Barack Obama’s repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy.

At the last round of conventions in 2016, Colorado Republicans had their time center-stage at the RNC in Cleveland, and Hickenlooper again had his say at the DNC in Philadelphia.

Darryl Glenn, the El Paso County commissioner who had seemingly come out of nowhere to win the GOP nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, spoke in support of Republican nominee Trump, while blasting Obama as the “divider-in-chief.”

Glenn introduced himself to delegates with a line he’d uttered throughout his campaign, calling himself “an unapologetic Christian, constitutional conservative, pro-life, second-amendment-loving Veteran and I’m your Republican nominee for United States Senate in the No. 1 battleground state in this country — Colorado.”

In a play on a line in Obama’s famous 2004 DNC keynote about red states and blue states, Glenn said: “This is not about black America, white America or brown America, this is about the United States of America."

The other Coloradans who spoke in Cleveland were Jefferson County Commissioner Libby Szabo and Mark “Oz” Geist and John “Tig” Tiegen, survivors of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

At the 2016 DNC, Hickenlooper went after Trump, blasting the billionaire’s “trickle-down economics, where he doesn’t pay his bills and small businesses go out of business.”

“The true mark of a successful businessman is not the number of times you say, ‘You’re fired,’ ” Hickenlooper said. “It’s the number of times you say, ‘You’re hired,’ ” referencing a line from Trump’s “The Apprentice” show.

Denver Democrat Crisanta Duran, then the House majority leader and future House speaker, drew on her personal history to make a case for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“Only in America could a shy little girl from Northglenn and Arvada, Colorado, grow up to break glass ceilings and serve as the majority leader of the Colorado House of Representatives,” she said. “So, to every shy little girl or boy out there listening, I want to say: No matter who you are, no matter where you're from, or how you got here, you are special. And your potential is as big as America itself.”

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