An Englewood climate activist is the latest Democrat to declare a 2020 bid for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Cory Gardner.
Diana Bray, 58, said in a release that she hopes to influence the debate about climate change in the Senate by championing a transition to zero-carbon emissions while keeping working families at the fore.
"I am so tired of the oil and gas industry having a stranglehold over our health and safety," Bray says in a campaign video. "We know we have a climate crisis that is also a humanitarian crisis. We have a crisis of democracy where big-money interests paralyze action."
After last year's failure of Proposition 112, a ballot measure to increase drilling set-backs, Bray said she realized it was time for "regular people" to stand up to the fossil fuel industry.
“American workers need to be intimately involved in every step of our Just Transition," she said in a statement. "I’m running for the Senate to support our workers, and grow the coalition that will reinvent the American economy into the world leader in green energy.”
The psychologist and first-time candidate is the ninth Democrat in the running to take on Gardner, one of only two Republican senators up for election next year in states won by Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Other announced candidates include former state Sen. Mike Johnston, former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, former congressional candidate Stephany Rose Spaulding, scientist and educator Trish Zornio, organizer Lorena Garcia, activist Danielle Kombo, pharmacist Dustin Leitzel and veterans advocate Keith Pottratz.
Democrats considering joining the primary include former U.S. attorney for Colorado John Walsh, state Sen. Kerry Donovan of Vail, former congressional candidate and former director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education Dan Baer, and former Boulder County Democratic chair Ellen Burns.
U.S. Reps. Ed Perlmutter and Joe Neguse are also considered potential Gardner challengers.
On Tuesday, Johnston, who ran for governor last year and got in the Senate primary at the end of January, said he raised $1.8 million in February and March.
According to the most recent campaign finance filings, Gardner's campaign had $1.7 million on hand at the end of 2018.
Campaign finance reports for the first quarter of 2019 are due April 15.
The race for the seat, which could determine which party holds the majority in the Senate, is expected to be the most expensive in Colorado history.
Kyle Kohli, the Colorado spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said in a statement that the central focus of Bray's candidacy points to trouble ahead for Democrats taking aim at Gardner.
“It’s unsurprising to see another 2020 Senate candidate that supports the Green New Deal and killing countless Colorado jobs. Colorado Democrats are openly embracing Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez’s socialist agenda as a litmus test, and their Senate candidates are following suit,” said Kohli, referring to the left-leaning New York congresswoman and sponsor of wide-ranging climate legislation.