Markey easily re-nominated but faces hard reelection
Polis faces relatively clear path to reelection
By Anthony Bowe
U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey is gearing up for a difficult re-election bid while U.S. Rep. Jared Polis awaits his Republican challenger after both incumbents received nominations from energetic delegates last Friday.
Rep. Betsy Markey, D-Fort Collins, speaks to delegates on Saturday.
Photo by Jason Kosena/The Colorado Statesman
Markey and Polis were nominated at their respective congressional districts assemblies at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield.
Delegates in CD 4 welcomed Markey with several standing ovations and chants of “Betsy!” as the first-term congresswoman delivered a 27-minute speech following her nomination. In her remarks, Markey mentioned how a Greeley Tribune article by columnist Mike Peters published after she was elected in 2008 has helped her remain humble in her first term. In one piece of advice, Peters suggested that Markey stay accessible to those who voted for her, and even those who didn’t. She said the article is still hanging in her Washington, D.C. office.
Markey was nominated by Cheri Nichols, who also serves as her campaign volunteer coordinator. The nomination was seconded by Joe Perez, of Weld County. Over 500 delegates nominated her for a second term by acclamation.
Karen Ericson, 63, a delegate from Larimer County, said she may not always agree with Markey, but she still whole-heartedly supports her candidacy.
“I support her because she has the courage of her convictions,” Ericson said. “She uses her good judgment and she really represents the people in our district. She also listens and she’s not afraid to fight for what she believes in.”
During her speech, Markey pleaded for more volunteers, who she said provided a major boost in her campaign to defeat three-term Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave in 2008. Markey was the first Democrat elected from the district in 35 years. She garnered 56 percent of the vote compared to Musgrave’s 43.9 percent two years ago.
“We just had an awesome group of volunteers — people knocking on doors, making phone calls, making food for our volunteers — and that’s what propelled us to a 12-point victory in 2008 that we’re going to repeat again in 2010,” Markey said as delegates cheered, blew kazoos and twirled noise makers.
Democratic State Chair Pat Waak opened the CD 4 assembly with praise for Markey.
“We’re so lucky and so fortunate to have a congresswoman who is working really, really hard and she’s been available to all of us, she’s tried to speak for all of us,” Waak said. “Just ring that bell one more time this year. Let’s send Betsy Markey back to congress and let’s show the nation this is a blue congressional district and a blue state.”
Markey will face state Rep. Cory Gardner, R-63, in the general election. Gardner received “Young Gun” designation by the National Republican Congressional Committee this week after being the only Republican
Markey’s seat is being targeted nationally by Republicans. In March, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin listed Markey as one of 17 vulnerable Democratic congresspersons in 2010.
CD 4 includes the counties of Baca, Bent, Cheyenne, Crowley, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Larimer, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Prowers, Sedgwick, Washington, Weld and Yuma, and portions of Boulder and Otero counties.
In CD 2, over 400 delegates gave Polis the nomination by acclamation. He was nominated by Rachel Olivarez-Sellers, of Adams County, and seconded by Broomfield Mayor Pat Quinn and Boulder resident Kim Cohen.
Quinn credited Polis for being a major player in securing funding for expansion projects along the U.S. 36 corridor.
“Jared has been a tireless supporter of U.S. 36, the mayors and commissioners, and because of those efforts, we have the TIGER grant for $10 million, we’ve got funding up to $160 million for bus traffic transit, which will create jobs and help businesses along the corridor,” Quinn said. “It’s imperative we nominate Jared to get out and be congressman again for two more years, or forever really, in the 2nd congressional district.”
Polis outlined major legislation that congressional Democrats passed since he was elected in 2008.
“We had a very long debate about health care — it took up close to a year and a half,” Polis said. “I think we can all be proud of the result of that. Was it perfect? No. But we’re going to cover 35 million more Americans with health care insurance, taking the burden off of small business, helping people escape from the cycle of poverty and assure that kids have access to quality health insurance.”
Polis said he would continue to push for a public option in new health care mandates taking hold by 2014. As a hint of possible legislative priorities upcoming in congress, Polis said it’s “critical we replace our immigration system with one that works.”
CD 2 Chair Florine Raitano said nominating Polis, who she said has become popular with Democrats on the federal and state levels, was a no-brainer.
“Why would we change horses now when we have the best one in the Kentucky Derby?” Raitano said.
Polis will face the winner of a Republican primary between Stephen Bailey and Bob Brancato. In 2008, Polis defeated GOP Scott Starin by 27 points. CD 2 includes the counties of Broomfield, Eagle, Grand, Clear Creek, Summit and Gilpin, and portions of Adams, Weld, Jefferson and Boulder counties.
State Board of Education member Angelika Schroeder also received nomination by acclamation for her reelection at the CD 2 assembly. She was nominated by state Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, with a second from Democratic Attorney General candidate Stan Garnett, Boulder’s District Attorney.
“Angelika Schroeder is probably the most diligent, the most committed and the smartest school board member I ever served with,” said Garnett, who served on the Boulder school board with Schroeder for six years. “I knew I could always count on Angelika to understand the issues, to give us good advice and to make sure that she voted her conscience about what was best for kids.”
Schroeder said the state board has numerous challenges ahead over the next couple years, including implementing vast reforms and netting more funding.
In CU regent races, Robert “B.C.” Bishop-Cotner, a member of the Windsor town board, received the Democratic nomination in CD 4. He was nominated by Windsor town board member and Mayor Pro Tem Matthew O’Neill, with a second from current CU Regent Monisha Merchant.
Bishop-Cotner said he would work to accomplish two priorities as CU regent: lower tuition costs and enhance “life learning.”
“How can we expect the next generation to take this challenge and survive with such a huge debt? Why should families have to chose which child they will help support in our university systems?” he asked.