Election 2020 Stephany Spaulding forum

In this file photo, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Stephany Spaulding speaks at a candidate forum sponsored by Indivisible organizations on June 9, 2019, in Denver.

Former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Stephany Rose Spaulding on Friday endorsed Lorena Garcia as the party's nominee to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner.

Spaulding, who was knocked from the primary last month at the Democrats' state assembly, praised her former rival's "passion for justice" and said was "humbled" to endorse her.

"From the first time I heard (Lorena Garcia) speak, I knew her passion for justice was just as ancestral as my own. Her analysis is conscientious and her love for community runs deep. Running beside her was one of the most valuable experiences in life," tweeted Spaulding, a pastor and women's and ethnic studies professor at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

Garcia, the executive director of the Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition, is running in the June 30 primary against former Gov. John Hickenlooper, former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff and immigrant rights activist Michelle Ferrigno Warren.

Garcia and Warren won spots on the ballot in recent weeks after a Denver District Court judge ruled that they "substantially complied" with petition requirements despite turning in fewer than the required number of signatures, citing difficulties their campaigns encountered during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Thank you Stephany for trusting me to keep in this fight," Garcia tweeted in response to Spaulding's endorsement. "We are all still in this together and I am grateful to have run along side you."

Punctuating her tweet with a clenched-fist emoji, Garcia added: "IRON SHARPENS IRON," followed by five exclamation points.

The two Democrats have publicly supported each other for months, saying their goal was to make sure at least one "real progressive" woman made it to the primary ballot.

A third member of the informal coalition, climate activist and psychologist Diana Bray, didn't collect enough petition signatures to make the ballot. Earlier Friday, she thew her support behind Romanoff.

Primary ballots go in the mail to most Colorado voters on June 9.

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