Senate Candidate Andrew Romanoff’s Campaign for Climate Justice

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US Senate Democratic candidate for Colorado Andrew Romanoff (Bill Clark / Roll Call via Getty Images)

Starting with a declaration that “we have a choice: a once or perhaps last in a lifetime chance to rescue the world we know,” Andrew Romanoff has framed his bid for Colorado’s Democratic US Senate nomination around a climate justice message that rejects the failed vision of “tired politicians [who] tell us to lower our sights, to curb our ambitions, to settle for the status quo.”

Romanoff has been blunt, calling out cautious Democrats like his primary rival, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, for their lack of moral clarity and their failure to recognize the political potency of climate activism. Speaking of political insiders who pull their punches on the issue, the former speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives said last December, “They badly underestimate the urgency of this moment and the power of our persistence.”

With little money, little support from D.C. insiders, and little media attention, Romanoff persisted in his primary run. And, now, as the primary approaches, it appears that the power of his progressive message was badly underestimated by an over-confident rival.

Hickenlooper, who entered the Senate race only after crashing and burning as a corporate-friendly centrist presidential contender who attacked progressives like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, is still identified as the front-runner in the contest to pick an opponent for vulnerable Republican Senator Cory Gardner. But the margins are narrowing, as headlines announce: “Hickenlooper stumbles in must-win Senate race for Democrats,” “‘A hot mess’: Hickenlooper stumbles into Democratic primary,” and “Andrew Romanoff is closing the gap after John Hickenlooper’s stumbles.”

Senate Candidate Andrew Romanoff’s Campaign for Climate Justice 1

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Like Kentucky insurgent Charles Booker, who gained traction in the final weeks before the June 23 Kentucky Democratic primary—votes are still being counted—Romanoff is rising in the final days before the June 30 Colorado primary. The former legislator is doing so as a candidate who speaks with a sense of urgency about the need to go big for structural change, telling voters, “We’re running out of time to rescue our planet, repair our democracy, and restore the American Dream.”

In Colorado, where environmental issues are an especially big deal, Romanoff has run the sort of campaign that Democrats everywhere should be studying for ideas. As part of a broad progressive agenda that focuses on economic, social, and racial justice, the former legislator begins his list of priorities with a pledge to “combat the climate crisis” framed around support for “a Green New Deal to replace fossil fuel with renewable energy.”

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