Democratic U.S. Senate candidates John Hickenlooper and Andrew Romanoff met in their first debate Tuesday night, the day after primary ballots starting going out to voters.
The debate, presented by KUSA in Denver in partnership with Colorado Politics, KOAA Colorado Springs, KKCO Grand Junction and KOBF in the Four Corners area, was held at 6:30 p.m., with 9NEWS Anchor Kyle Clark moderating.
Because of social distancing requirements, both candidates will appear remotely, as will moderator Clark.
“These times make it clear how important leadership is for our communities and Colorado," 9NEWS Director of Content Tim Ryan said. "We’re pleased to give voters an opportunity to see where the candidates stand on these urgent issues before the June 30th primary.”
The winner of that Senate primary will face incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in November. The secretary of state's office started mailing primary ballots to voters Monday.
The debate comes on the heels of a ruling by the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission that Hickenlooper violated the state's ethics law in two of six cases where he accepted private flights while he was governor. Those trips went against the ban on gifts from corporations to elected officials
Hickenlooper, Colorado’s former governor, testified for three hours at Friday's hearing, appearing under enforcement of a subpoena after he had refused to attend the hearing via remote video chat.
Romanoff said in a statement Friday, “I have no sympathy for the Republicans who brought this complaint. Their outrage is hard to stomach. But it wasn’t the GOP that found Mr. Hickenlooper in contempt or in violation of the State Constitution. It was Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission. The Commission’s message is clear—and Coloradans agree: no one is above the law.”
Hickenlooper entered the Senate race after a thwarted bid for the Democratic nomination for president.
Romanoff, formerly Colorado’s Speaker of the House, was defeated by now-Senator Michael Bennet in the primary of the 2010 Senate election.
Hickenlooper won a spot on the primary ballot via signatures. Romanoff won the Colorado Democratic Senate caucus, earning an automatic spot on the primary ballot.