Littleton resident Gabriel McArthur says the reason he’s seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in the 6th Congressional District is because Democrats can’t “articulate clearly and loudly” what the party stands for and shouldn’t assume that criticizing President Trump will be enough to attract voters.
“People are suffering, and they don’t simply have time to be played like a game of Ping-Pong,” McArthur says in a video his campaign posted to Facebook. “I’m running for Congress because single-payer health care, tuition-free college, expanding Social Security benefits, a federal job guarantee, preventing further escalation into foreign wars and a minimizing of influence of money in politics are necessary to heal our nation and the state of Colorado.”
The 25-year-old says he got involved in politics last year, when he was elected as a Bernie Sanders delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention and later “controversially broke with the party” by voting for Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein in the fall election. In a release announcing McArthur’s congressional run McArthur admits that what his campaign terms his “open disdain for many top Democrats” could be considered risky “but also present[s] some crossover appeal with voters outside the party.”
The suburban 6th District is nearly evenly split between Republican, Democratic and unaffiliated voters. It includes all of Aurora, as well as portions of Adams County to the north and Arapahoe and Douglas counties to the south.
McArthur was the first Democrat to declare a bid to take on Coffman, the Republican incumbent who won election to a fifth term representing the suburban district in November. McArthur announced his run in mid March, a few weeks ahead of Denver attorney and combat veteran Jason Crow and Aurora attorney David Aarestad, who both joined the race in April.
“In case you are wondering, yes, I am old enough to vote,” McArthur says in a video welcoming Crow and Aarestad to the primary. “You may not have heard of me before — that’s because I’m no millionaire or billionaire, I’m just an average, ordinary citizen. I entered this race because I knew this country was headed for a struggle and, to my dismay, it seemed as if many Democrats in Congress failed to understand the mistakes that cost us so many majorities in government.”
McArthur says his experience coming of age “at the height of the Great Recession” gives him insight “that no degree could ever teach someone.” For instance, he says his experience processing mortgage modifications means he spoke with thousands of Americans in the throes of the foreclosure crisis and also understands what it was like to lose a job.
“And as someone who became a father quite young,” McArthur says, “I know what it feels like to raise e child in uncertain times and to wonder if they are receiving the best education and health care that we as a nation are capable of offering.”
McArthur says he opposes the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and favors public funding for elections. He’s calling for what he terms a “drastic transition” from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and believes Colorado can become a hub for the green energy industry.
A supporter of single-payer health care, McArthur said in a statement, “The Republicans centered their rhetoric around repealing the Affordable Care Act, but when an opportunity to do just that arose, they rolled out The American Health Care Act half-baked and falling short of addressing the needs of all Americans.”
His campaign said McArthur plans to hold town hall meetings and formally launch his campaign this summer.