Last week Maplight, a non partisan group that looks at money in politics, released a report looking at spending in the Democratic primary in the US senate race in Colorado and particularly the role of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has endorsed former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper.
Last week’s report coincided with another report by the Intercept which showed the role of the DSCC in working against progressive candidates in the race.
Andrew Perez with Maplight says they traced contributions to the DSCC from the oil and gas industry and from large pharmaceutical companies. “We noticed that the DSCC has received a lot of checks that were collected by lobbyists, corporate lobbyists for healthcare companies and oil and energy and utility companies, that hadn’t really been reported anywhere. The other thing is we’re seeing this in a bunch of races but it was probably just a little more pronounced in Colorado where you’re seeing the DSCC really putting its thumb on the scales in races that are competitive open primaries.”
The 2020 senate election in Colorado is seen as one of the more important races in the country. Perez says the DSCC role has a lot of influence in senate races. “It’s definitely very influential. I don’t know that you see them get aggressively involved in open primaries very often, but at the least what people expect from them is that the DSCC will help protect and re elect incumbents, any incumbent senate Democrat.”
In late August, the DSCC endorsed John Hickenlooper in the senate primary after he withdrew from the Presidential primary race, prompting criticism from other candidates already in the race and some other Democrats in Colorado.
Another report on the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s endorsement of John Hickenlooper appeared in the Intercept and outlined how the DSCC was influencing the race by discouraging consultancy firms from working with progressive candidates.
One candidate mentioned in the report is Andrew Romanoff who confirmed that the DSCC has tried to blackball firms that his campaign was speaking with.
“We heard from a number of groups that said “we like you, we’d love to work with you, we believe you’re going to win, but if we sign on to your campaign we’re going to lose the contracts that we stand to gain from the DSCC.” Look I get it, it’s the way that Washington works and if you like the way Washington works you should pick a different candidate. I am intent on breaking the death grip that these powerful corporate interests hold unfortunately on both parties.”
Romanoff, who supports the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, says the DSCC opposes both of those things and won’t support candidates who do support them.
“The DSCC is not keen on the Green New Deal and they’re not keen on Medicare for All and I gather they’re not keen on me as I support both of those priorities. In fact I think the climate crisis poses an existential threat to life on earth and unless we combat it and our reliance on fossil fuel and create a clean energy economy. Much of the damage is already baked in. But the DSCC, in fact both parties, take a lot of money from the fossil fuel industry and so it’s not a great surprise that they wouldn’t be wild about candidates like me that are taking on the industry instead.”
Mike Johnston, another of the candidates in the crowded Democratic primary field, announced Tuesday that he was dropping out of the race. Johnston cited the main reason he was suspending his campaign was former Governor John Hickenlooper’s entrance into the race. Johnston told the Colorado Sun that that winning the Democratic primary would require an expensive and negative campaign adding that that is not who he is.