ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. - The father of a man who was killed in the 2012 Colorado theater shootings is running for state Senate.
Tom Sullivan, who became a face of anguish after his son Alex was killed by James Holmes, announced his run as a Democrat in the heavily Republican district of SD-27 on Tuesday.
Sullivan has no previous political experience. However, he has lobbied the legislature for limits on high-capacity gun magazines and testified for an unsuccessful bill to remove Colorado's requirement that death penalty verdicts be unanimous.
"I had a story then to tell and I came down and I told that story and it was a story that resonated with a lot of people but it wasn’t just from a mass shooting like that, those kinds of things happen to people in our community every single day," said Sullivan.
He is running on a platform based around working families with a focus on the middle class, economy and education.
Sullivan is an Air Force veteran, recently retired postal worker, and long-time resident of Arapahoe County. He is running against Republican incumbent Senator Jack Tate.
Senator Tate release the following statement in response to Sullivan's announcement:
"I am not acquainted with Mr. Sullivan, but I welcome him to the race and I look forward to seeing him out on the campaign trail. Based on his immediate attacks today, it does not bode well for his candidacy that he negatively involves himself in mischaracterizations of my record from the very start. Folks in Arapahoe County appreciate my strong, positive record of advocating for more local control of education, increased funding for the classroom, and responsible stewardship of State finances. They also look to me to help lead the charge for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and job-creation."
Sullivan told Denver7 he weighed the idea of running for several months and was encouraged by his family. He says he is just a regular guy dealing with a life-changing loss.
"Look at me, I could be you I mean it’s only through the grace of God that it wasn’t your kids that were there and that’s what I try to tell people," said Sullivan.
Holmes was convicted last year in the theater shooting. But the 12-member jury couldn't unanimously agree to impose the death penalty. Under Colorado law, the judge sentenced Holmes to life in prison without parole.