Bernie Sanders Wins Colorado's Presidential Primary | KUNC

Bernie Sanders Wins Colorado's Presidential Primary

Mar 3, 2020

With almost half of precincts reporting, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was declared the winner of Colorado's Democratic presidential primary.

Sanders was an early favorite to win the state. He trounced Hillary Clinton in Colorado's last presidential caucus in 2016, winning 59% of the vote.

Even before he became a candidate in the current election cycle, Sanders got a rock star welcome last year during a rally at Colorado State University. And when his presidential campaign came to Colorado in February, thousands of people packed Denver's Civic Center Park to support his calls for Medicare for All and other progressive policies.

But other leading Democratic candidates were not willing to concede the state and its 67 delegates to Sanders, and Colorado became a key battleground in the primary — just as Gov. Jared Polis predicted it would after the state joined the Super Tuesday lineup.

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The Colorado Sun reported Tuesday that the candidates spent a combined $9.7 million to run more than 32,000 ads in Colorado alone before the polls closed.

And all the top tier candidates visited the state after the New Hampshire primary.

With $7.4 million worth of ads, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was the biggest spender in Colorado by far.

The state's top politicians were also divided over which candidate to throw their weight behind. Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia was an early backer of Joe Biden, and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock endorsed the former vice president after his big victory in the South Carolina primary.

But several other Democratic state senators, including Kerry Donovan and Julie Gonzales endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren's campaign. And State Rep. Tom Sullivan, a leading advocate of gun control in the state legislature after losing his son, Alex, in the Aurora theater shooting, backed Michael Bloomberg because of his position on guns.

Now, Colorado Democrats will turn some of their attention to another key primary as they decide who to nominate to take on Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner next year.

Polls indicate the Democratic primary is a contest between former Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, but around a dozen candidates are still in that race.