Calling him “a true progressive who will fight for everyone,” the Denver chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America this week endorsed congressional candidate Levi Tillemann, one of four Democrats running for the 6th Congressional District held by Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman.
Chapter leader Susan Gilbert, who lives in the suburban 6th District, said Tillemann, a clean energy expert and author, was the group’s choice among a strong field of Democrats campaigning for the chance to take on Coffman, who is seeking his sixth term representing the suburban swing seat.
“He is not influenced by special interest groups and genuinely listens to people’s concerns and ideas, which proves he will advocate for our principles and our future,” Gilbert said in a written statement. “Levi is honest in his convictions and is devoted to making CD6 a community everyone would be proud to call home. Levi Tillemann is a true progressive who will fight for everyone, which is why he is my choice for Congressional District 6.”
The group applauded a number of Tillemann’s positions, including his pledge to support 100-percent renewable energy by 2035, his support for single-payer healthcare, and his commitment to support refugees and the young immigrants known as Dreamers.
Donna Smith, executive director of the national Progressive Democrats of America, noted in a statement that she lives just outside the 6th District so can’t vote for Tillemann in the primary but believes he can inspire heavy voter turnout in November.
“It seems to me that Levi does not look to some better past to recreate but to a more just, vibrant and healthy future we will build with one another,” Smith said in a statement.
Tillemann, the author of “The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future,” was an advisor to the Department of Energy under President Barack Obama and is managing partner of a consulting firm that offers advice about what it calls the “transformative industries of the 21st century.” His grandmother was Nancy Dick, the first woman elected lieutenant governor of Colorado, and his grandfather was the late U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress.
The other Democrats running in the district are Jason Crow, an Aurora attorney and Army Ranger veteran; David Aarestad, an Aurora attorney and former school board candidate; and political newcomer Erik Stanger. Coffman is facing a primary challenge from Highlands Ranch activist Roger Edwards.
As it stands, all four Democrats have said they’re going through the caucus and assembly process in order to try to secure a spot on the June 26 primary ballot. That kicks off at March 6 precinct caucuses and culminates at the 6th District assembly in early April, where candidates who get the support of at least 30 percent of delegates advance to the primary.
Tillemann and Aarestad are also circulating nominating petitions, which are due March 20 to the Colorado secretary of state’s office. It takes 1,000 valid signatures to make the primary ballot. Both campaigns have said they’re considering whether to submit petitions and will likely decide after caucuses.