Trish Zornio

U.S. Senate candidate Trish Zornio, a Colorado Democrat, conducts a town hall meeting in this undated photo provided by the Zornio campaign.

After criss-crossing Colorado for a year and a half while exploring a bid for the U.S. Senate, Democrat Trish Zornio made it official Saturday: The scientist and educator from Superior is running for the seat held by Republican Sen. Cory Gardner.

“I’m running because we need to think forward and solve the problems of tomorrow, not only the problems of yesterday, the way I have done my entire career,” Zornio said in a statement.

Zornio, 33, planned to kick off her run Saturday at Women's Marches in Greeley, Colorado Springs and Denver "in honor of the many inspiring women who have marched along the way," her campaign said in a release.

A biomedical researcher and first-time candidate, Zornio said she was moved to consider running for the Senate when she realized its members lack expertise in science, health care and education.

“Climate change is a defining issue of our time, but we have no scientists on the U.S. Senate science committee,” she said in a statement.

She's the fourth Democrat to announce a run against Gardner, considered the most vulnerable Republican senator up for election next year.

Several heavyweights — including former House Speaker Crisanta Duran, former state Sen. Mike Johnston and former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff — are expected to launch campaigns in coming months.

Other potential candidates for the seat include U.S. Reps. Ed Perlmutter and Joe Neguse, and former Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is also considering a run for president.

Zornio has held meet-and-greets in all 64 of Colorado's counties since she began exploring a campaign in mid 2017.

This semester, she's teaching at the University of Colorado Denver, including courses in the biological basis of behavior and research methods in psychology.

Zornio has worked as a researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder, Denver Health and the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Originally from New Hampshire, Zornio is involved with the Colorado STEM & Policy Research initiative, advises Boulder's 500 Women Scientists Youth Pod, founded and runs the community music program CoMusica and is lead coordinator for 314 Action's Colorado chapter, a nonprofit that aims to move scientists into policy roles.

Powerhouse political consulting firm Trippi, Norton, Rossmeissl Campaigns is advising Zornio, a spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based firm told Colorado Politics.

The other Democrats who have thrown their hats in the ring for Gardner's seat include Lorena Garcia, the executive director of Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition, who announced her bid in November, and activist James Blanton and pharmacist Dustin John Leitzel, who filed statements of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission in 2017.

According to Gardner's most recent FEC filing, his campaign has raised $1.8 million through the end of September and had $1 million on hand.

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