Democrat John Hickenlooper picked up endorsements for his U.S. Senate candidacy this week from Denver's original power couple Wellington and Wilma Webb, the former governor's campaign said.
"John has been a friend and a true fighter for the people of Colorado, first as Denver mayor then as governor of Colorado," said Wellington Webb, Hickenlooper's three-term predecessor as mayor and the first African-American elected to the position.
"Each and every day, we see the dysfunction and chaos coming from Washington DC, and each and every day hardworking Coloradans suffer while Sen. (Cory) Gardner rubber stamps President Trump’s wrongheaded and dangerous policies. I know John Hickenlooper is the right candidate to defeat Senator Gardner, fix Washington, and get results for Coloradans.”
Hickenlooper, who served two terms as mayor and two terms as governor, is facing former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff in the June 30 primary, with the winner going up against Gardner, who is running for a second term.
Wellington Webb introduced Hickenlooper at the Civic Center rally that launched his brief presidential run last year, calling him the antidote to Trump.
“Washington today is a toxic place, where anger and vitriol replace hope, and it's hard to turn on the news without turning your stomach,” Webb said at the March 7 event. “But we can make change. We can make change."
“John deeply cares about issues that matter such as expanding voting rights, and he has worked vigorously to improve the lives of the people across the state," said Wilma Webb, a member of the Colorado Women’s Vote Centennial Commission. "Once he is elected senator, John will represent all Coloradans and make Washington work for us.”
The Webbs — known affectionately for decades as the Wilmingtons — have been prominent players in Colorado politics for nearly 50 years.
Wellington Webb was elected twice to the Colorado House and then tapped as regional director of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare under President Jimmy Carter. After that, he headed the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies under Gov. Dick Lamm and was later elected as Denver auditor before his come-from-behind win for mayor. He runs Webb Group International, a political and government relations consulting firm.
Wilma Webb served in the Colorado House from 1980 to 1993 and was the first African-American lawmaker to sit on the powerful Joint Budget Committee. She led Colorado’s adoption of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday as a state holiday and has been inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame.
Hickenlooper had high praise for the couple, recalling their friendship and support over the years.
“I have been lucky enough to work side by side with her to deliver for Denver and Colorado, whether expanding health care or protecting reproductive freedom," Hickenlooper said, referring to Wilma Webb. "I look forward to her counsel and taking what we have accomplished in Colorado to Washington to get things done.”
Saying that Wellington Webb helped him bring Denver together when he took over at city hall, Hickenlooper added: "Changing a broken Washington is going to be a challenging undertaking, and I’m glad to know I have Mayor Webb in my corner to help.”