The Colorado Fraternal Order of Police, the state’s largest police union, Wednesday announced it has endorsed Democrat Tom Sullivan for the House District 37 seat in Centennial over the Republican incumbent, Cole Wist.
Both candidates have made a name for themselves on gun issues, with Sullivan losing a son in the 2012 Aurora theater mass shooting and Wist having defied his party on a key gun-safety measure in this year’s legislative session.
Wist, who served as assistant House minority leader last session, is running for his second full term. He was appointed in January 2016, replacing Rep. Jack Tate, who was appointed to the Senate.
Wist was a co-sponsor, along with Democratic Assistant House Majority Leader Alec Garnett of Denver, of House Bill 1436, aka the “red flag” bill — that would allow a family member or law enforcement to obtain a temporary court order to remove guns from someone who is believed to be a risk.
The measure in early May passed in the Democratic-controlled House, with Wist among the few Republicans voting yes, but died on a party-line committee vote in the GOP-led Senate.
Sullivan was the father of Alex Sullivan, one of the victims in the Aurora theater shooting, in which James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 others.
“When my family and I needed law enforcement officers most on that terrible night in 2012, they were there for us,” Sullivan said in a statement. “While my opponent claims to support our community’s law enforcement officers, his record speaks otherwise.
The Sullivan campaign pointed to a “no” vote by Wist on a bill sponsored by the FOP to extend workers’ compensation benefits for those involved either “psychologically traumatic events” or “serious bodily injury.”