Trish Zornio

Trish Zornio

One of the earliest Democrats to make noise about taking down Republican Cory Gardner as Colorado's U.S. senator is one of the last to drop out ahead of Saturday's state party assembly.

Zornio would have needed at least 30% of the delegates to get on the primary ballot, and having her grassroots, low-budget campaign sidelined by the pandemic stay-at-home order made it too difficult to close the gap, she said.

Zornio was not ready to say Wednesday morning who she might endorse or what's next in her political career.

"I can’t yet say for sure, but I know this is only the beginning," she said in the statement aimed at her supporters. "With your help we have laid the groundwork for championing the next generation of women and scientists in our highest levels of government, challenging what is possible and setting forth a new standard and vision for Colorado.

"This progress can never be lost. Over the next many weeks I look forward to finding new ways to build strong coalitions toward a better and brighter future for us all."

She spoke to the current problems the country faces.

"While I would love nothing more than to continue in this race as the need for scientists in government could not be more timely, in light of current circumstances it has become clear it is time to find a new path forward," she said in the statement obtained first by Colorado Politics.

"Many might think it is the candidate which offers inspiration to voters, but I now know it is just as much the voters who offer inspiration to the candidate. For years Coloradans have accepted me into their hearts and homes, entrusting me with their deepest hopes and fears. From the 6th generation Colorado farmer who walked me along his drought-ridden farm, to the 88-year-old woman who hoped to 'finally see the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Colorado,' to the 9-year-old girl who wants to be a scientist someday, too, I am truly honored and humbled to have earned the privilege of your trust and support."

She thanked her mentors, including current and former elected officials, policy experts, scientific and health experts and others.

She concluded, "Please join me in leaning forward and daring to dream of opportunities yet unknown."

The race to take on Gardner has included 21 candidates over the past year and a half, the race dwindles to an assembly that pits only former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, educator Stephany Rose Spaulding and tech entrepreneur Erik Underwood.

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper is assured a place on the June 30 ballot by turning in more than enough petitions to qualify on March 16. Lorena Garcia has submitted petitions and awaits word from the Secretary of State's Office if she has enough valid signatures from qualified voters in each congressional district.  

Romanoff won the U.S. Senate preference poll held at Democratic precinct caucuses on March 7 with 55% of the vote, ahead of Hickenlooper's 30%. Zornio was third with 6.4%.

Since she began the race she said the country needed senators who understand and respect the science and take partisanship out of the equation.

A native of New Hampshire, Zornio lectures on neuroscience and research methodology at the University of Colorado Denver.

She has worked on medical research for the University of Colorado Boulder, Denver Health Medical Center and the Stanford University School of Medicine. She worked on a National Institutes of Health-funded study on rare and undiagnosed diseases.

Her potential candidacy was featured in Melissa Healy’s health and science blog in the Los Angeles Times in June 2018, titled, “What happens when scientists leave their labs to experiment with politics?”

She is a former board adviser for the 500 Women Scientists Youth Pod in Boulder County, as well the principal director of CoMusica, a community music program she founded in 2013.

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