Colorado’s Clinton-Sanders endorsement events in 2 photos

Colorado’s Clinton-Sanders endorsement events in 2 photos


DENVER — When it comes to how the Bernie-Hillary showdown looks on the ground in Colorado, two recent photographs might say a lot.

Above are photos from two news conferences held this week by the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns as they rolled out their legislative and community leader endorsements in Denver.

In a way, the two events crystalize how the campaigns are playing out on the ground in Colorado, a bellwether state that holds its Super Tuesday caucuses on March 1.

On Monday, the Sanders camp rolled out endorsements of three Democratic members of the Colorado House. Behind them was a diverse crowd, a throng of sign-wavers chanting in English and Spanish about their candidate. Milling around were scattered supporters watching from the sidelines. Afterwards, a Sanders spokeswoman said the lawmakers would stick around for questions from reporters.

On Thursday, the Clinton camp held an event that couldn’t have been more different. At Civic Center Park near the Capitol, the campaign rolled out star-power endorsements from Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper (a superdelegate), ex-Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, former Mayor Wellington Webb, Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, and others. Only a handful of sign-carriers stood behind them, and some passersby and dog-walkers stopped to check it out.

It was clearly a media event, not a rally, designed to get the campaign’s top surrogates on the record with reporters in the days before the March 1 caucuses. Afterwards, as Hickenlooper lingered to speak with Webb, Colorado Springs Gazette reporter Megan Schrader grabbed the governor for an interview, which turned into a minor news conference as other reporters walked over to ask questions. “One more question,” a Clinton spokeswoman said after a few minutes, struggling to corral the governor toward a waiting vehicle. “OK, let’s go, guys, let’s go,” she said.

The way the two events were planned and handled could be viewed as a microcosm of the two campaigns playing out in Colorado. Two weeks ago, when Clinton and Sanders were in Denver for the Democratic Party’s largest fundraiser of the year, Sanders packed the Convention Center for a rally that drew more than 10,000. A few dozen Clinton supporters rallied outside the Sheraton Hotel, and inside their presence was visible among the party faithful who attended the Democratic Party fundraising dinner that evening.

In June, Sanders held one of his largest early rallies of his campaign, drawing a crowd of 5,000 to the University of Denver. Clinton has met with donors in Colorado, and has drawn crowds that have been around 1,000 or more, according to her campaign, but hasn’t attracted the kinds of numbers Sanders has at his rallies. The Clinton campaign notes that in Nevada, also a caucus state where Sanders was getting larger crowds, she still won.

What Clinton has done here, however, is locked up a large portion of Colorado’s superdelegates, like Hickenlooper and all four Democratic members of the state’s congressional delegation. KGNU radio’s Joseph Richey got a few of those delegates on record in a recent dispatch. (Meanwhile, Clinton has the official endorsements of roughly 10 times the lawmakers Sanders does in Colorado.)

The disparity between superdelegates and the activist base is a point the Sanders campaign has hammered home.

During a recent Sanders “Bernstorm” event in Colorado Springs, the campaign’s Colorado field director Josh Phillips called Clinton’s superdelegate count a “structural disadvantage that we have in the national primary and caucus process.”

In Colorado, caucus-goers elect local delegates to carry the banner for their presidential candidates through a series of conventions in the state and then all the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. About 20 percent of the delegates that end up in Philadelphia are superdelegates. In Colorado those are high-placed Democrats like the governor, members of Congress, Democratic National Committee members, and others.

“This is the establishment,” Phillips said. “And right now they’re breaking for the other side about forty to one. That uphill battle is real.”


*A Previous version of this report stated Ken Salazar is a superdelegate. He once was, but is not in 2016. 

[Photo credit: Corey Hutchins]

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About the Author

Corey Hutchins

is a journalist in Colorado, and Columbia Journalism Review's Rocky Mountain correspondent for the United States Project. Follow him on Twitter @CoreyHutchins and email him at CoreyHutchins [at] gmail [dot] com.


  1. James Luidl on said:

    Hickenlooper, the governor of a state being a superdelegate tells you everything that is wrong with the democratic party’s primary system.

  2. Ed Wildman on said:

    Enough with the superdelegates already, everyone is tired of hearing about her damn superdelegates. They aren’t going to matter until the convention, and Hill@ry doesn’t have them “locked up” this year any more than she did in 2008. If Sanders has more earned delegates than her going into the convention and the Supers try to throw it to her, well, maybe we’re due for a repeat of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

  3. Jeph on said:

    The ‘super’s’ are shaking in their shoes, because Bernie is looking to instill a program as expansive as the New Deal, and they are worried about actually having to work for potentially less money. I hope Sanders does so well, that there is such a disparity is so great that something will need to be done to it – everybody PLEASE VOTE!

  4. Gabriel A. King on said:

    A hard Left establishment criminal… vs a Communist “free stuff !” pro mass immigration / welfare loser.


  5. Will Morrison on said:

    Mr King:
    If you think Hillary is hard left ANYTHING you’re fooling yourself. Bernie isn’t a communist, either. And seriously, if you think that Trump is doing that great, then why is it that Bernie beats him in every poll out there?

    What is going on is the same thing that ALWAYS goes on in American politics. We have no actual national direction, so we go back and forth from one extreme to another. Always have. We’re actually behind schedule thanks to the corruption of the press that would have led to this change about 8 years ago. In fact, we THOUGHT we were voting for change with Obama, and didn’t get NEAR what we wanted or expected.

    And so now, with people expecting and wanting change, it’s one direction or another. But historically, we’ve always managed to pull ourselves away from this brink before going down the wrong path entirely. The majority, if given their fair voice, will choose someone on the left so they can keep the psycho right from destroying the country.

    I hate to let you know this, but it’s NOT a sign of national weakness to actually take care of your own citizens. Most countries consider that an obligation instead of the liability this one does. Most countries are smart enough to know that it’s people are what you’re SUPPOSED to spend money on.

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