Primaries are over, and now’s the time to get behind your candidates. Such was the message at a Democratic “unity rally” held this morning in Lakewood, a suburb of Denver.
On the second floor of the Clements Community Center, high profile Democrats pledged their support for Ed Perlmutter, the winner in the congressional district seven (CD-7) primaries. Attendees included Congresswoman Diana DeGette, gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter, and Perlmutter’s two competitors in the race-Peggy Lamm and Herb Rubenstein.
Standing in front of yard signs and a Colorado Democratic Party banner, DeGette moderated the press conference and congratulated all CD-7 candidates before going on to define her party in this year’s elections.
“The thing about the Democratic Party this November is that we are the party of the moderate middle,” she said. “That’s exactly what Ed Perlmutter is going to show us and Bill Ritter is going to show us, and so many of the other candidates.”
Shortly after, Ritter spoke to Lamm and Rubenstein, thanking them for participating in the primary.
“They both worked extremely hard,” said Ritter. “They gave it their all, they gave it their energies and I want to personally thank them and I want to also congratulate them….”
When it was time for the candidates to talk, both Lamm and Rubenstein vowed their support for Perlmutter and told the audience to help him beat Rick O’Donnell, his Republican challenger.
“I wish I’d won, but the voters have spoken, the bastards,” said Lamm, jokingly.
Perlmutter spoke last, and received a standing ovation from the crowd-approximately seventy people.
“When you’re in the race, you’re contestants, you’re combatants, and it’s not a lot of fun because you’re fighting with your friends…so you learn a lot about people,” he said when talking about the hotly contested primary race. “So with respect to this race, two people who were my friends or have become my friends will be my friends from this point on.”
Outside, a group of about fifteen protesters were standing in front of the Center, holding signs that criticized Perlmutter for his stances on Social Security reform.
“Yesterday Ed Perlmutter said on the news that he doesn’t think Social Security needs to be fixed, and we have a lot of concerns about that,” said LaDawn Sperling, a participant who did not identify her self with any specific organization. “We’re looking at Social Security and we’re paying into it now and there’s not going to be anything left for us by the time we get to retirement age.”
Lamm and Perlmutter hug.