U.S. Senate candidate Mike Johnston announced Tuesday that he's won endorsements from more than a dozen prominent Colorado Democrats, including former U.S. Sen. Gary Hart and former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife, former state Rep. Wilma Webb.
Johnston, a former state senator from Denver, is one of 11 Democrats running for the chance to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who is seeking a second term in 2020.
“Mike Johnston has the intelligence, legislative experience, and Colorado heritage required to represent our state in the United States Senate. He will be a senator who has the interest of all of us, not some special interests, in mind,” said Hart in a statement.
Calling Johnston "the best person to take on President Trump in Washington," Wellington Webb said he's impressed by Johnston's "determination and leadership ability."
“There is no challenge Mike Johnston can’t handle — from taking on the NRA in the state Senate to helping expand opportunities for undocumented students in Colorado," Webb said in a statement.
Others throwing their support behind Johnston include state Rep. Tom Sullivan, former House Speaker Terrance Carroll and former state Sen. Irene Aguilar, as well as other former lawmakers and civic leaders.
Hart and the Webbs supported Johnston when he sought the Democratic nomination for governor last year. Johnston finished third, behind then-U.S. Rep. Jared Polis and former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy.
Ahead of that primary, Hart called Johnston "one of the most creative and thoughtful leaders on education" in the country and said he "avoids the partisanship that is handcuffing political progress at the state and national level and will seek bipartisan innovation at every opportunity."
Other Democrats running in next year's Senate primary include former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, former U.S. Attorney for Colorado John Walsh, former ambassador Dan Baer and educator Stephany Rose Spaulding, who ran for Congress against U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn last year.
Johnston also received endorsements from former state Sens. Joyce Foster, Angela Giron, Rollie Heath and Gail Schwartz and her husband, Alan Schwartz; former state Reps. Millie Hamner and Christine Scanlan; Denver School Schools board member Lisa Flores; former DPS board member Theresa Peña; former Pueblo City Council member Steve Nawrocki; and educator Anna Jo Haynes.