DENVER – Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords will endorse former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper in the Democratic primary for Colorado’s Senate seat and the two will host a panel discussion on gun violence in Aurora early next month.
Giffords has been a leading voice against gun violence since she was shot at a political rally in Arizona in January 2011. She co-founded the gun violence prevention organization Giffords in the years after the shooting and has joined several candidates in appearances in Colorado in recent years.
The rally and panel discussion with Hickenlooper and Giffords is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 9 at the Heritage Christian Center in Aurora.
Giffords will be endorsing Hickenlooper “because of his track record of bringing people together to pass common-sense gun safety laws in Colorado and his commitment to getting Washington to work to make our communities more safe,” according to a campaign event notice from Hickenlooper’s campaign. Hickenlooper said he was “honored” to earn her endorsement.
The Giffords foundation has been active in Colorado in recent years – endorsing Jason Crow in his 2018 congressional race, which he won, and last year donating $10,000 to defend Rep. Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial, in a recall effort that eventually failed but focused on his sponsorship of Colorado’s “red flag” law.
Hickenlooper has a sizable cash advantage over the other eight Democratic candidates in the race (Christopher “Critter” Milton announced Thursday he was switching to the Unity Party), and an October 2019 poll showed he had a 51%-35% favorability rating, as well as a 53%-42% lead over Sen. Cory Gardner, the Republican who currently holds the Senate seat, in a theoretical matchup.
Hickenlooper started the year with $3.2 million in cash on hand, compared to Gardner’s $7.8 million in cash on hand. Former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, one of Hickenlooper’s top rivals in the primary, started the year with $686,000 in cash on hand.
Last August, the Giffords organization targeted Gardner with an ad as part of a $750,000 ad campaign to pressure the Senate to take up the House-passed H.R. 8 and the former congresswoman appeared with several of the state’s Democratic congressmen at a town hall on gun violence in Aurora. She also pushed for a new gun owners coalition at an appearance in Denver.
Giffords' husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, is running for Senate this year in Arizona as a Democrat.
Colorado’s Democratic primary is set for June 30.