Eleven Democrats hoping to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner next year held their first debate Saturday in Durango.
About 200 people attended the unofficial kickoff of the campaign for the Democratic nomination and the first forum since former Gov. John Hickenlooper entered the race after pulling the plug on his presidential bid.
The other candidates seeking the nomination are:
Daniel Baer, a former director of Colorado’s Department of Higher Education; Diana Bray, a climate activist from Englewood; Lorena Garcia, director of Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition; Alice Madden, a former state House Democratic leader; Andrew Romanoff, a former state House representative; Stephany Rose Spaulding, a community activist and professor based in Colorado Springs; John Walsh, former Colorado U.S. attorney; Michelle Ferrigno Warren, who works for Christian Community Development Association; Angela Williams, a Democratic state senator representing Denver; and Trish Zornio, a scientist and professor who lives in Superior.
An engaged crowd questioned the seven women and four men about where they stand on climate change, health care, education, gun rights and campaign finance.
La Plata County Democrats hosted the two-hour forum along with the Colorado Democratic Party.
Candidates had 90 seconds, 45 seconds or 30 seconds to answer questions from the crowd and moderator Morgan Carroll, a former state representative and senator who is chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party.
“The candidates have a lot to learn from the issues here in Southwest Colorado,” she said.
Twenty-year Durango resident Susan Corenwell, a lifelong Democrat, said she came to the forum Saturday to find the most progressive candidate.
“It’s time for people to stand up and be progressive,” Corenwell said. “Being progressive is a young idea, and we’re leaving the world to the young.”
The candidates shared a common platform on investing in education, regulating access to firearms, addressing climate change and making health care more accessible for the disadvantaged socioeconomic
While a common theme of “beat Cory Gardner” echoed through many of their remarks, each candidate differed on their policy priorities.
Despite their differences, each said it’s important that a Democrat takes the seat from Gardner, considered the most vulnerable Republican running for reelection. The race could be pivotal in deciding which party controls the Senate after the 2020 election.
Read this story at durangoherald.com.