Gay man expected to be appointed — by GOP — to Colorado Senate race
Appointment would put gay Republican vs. gay Democrat
July 20, 2012 | 1:05 pm
(Updated: July 20, 2012 | 1:55 pm)
A Colorado Republican vacancy committee is scheduled Saturday to interview — and is expected to appoint — a Denver gay man in order to fill an empty position on the November ballot.
Multiple GOP sources have confirmed Michael Carr is the only candidate being considered to fill the Senate District 31 vacancy after Brandon Kelley ended his campaign earlier this summer.
If Carr is selected he’ll go head-to-head with gay Denver Democrat state Sen. Pat Steadman.
The senate district stretches from central Denver into Glendale, the Denver Tech Center and parts of Aurora. While the map was dramatically redrawn during the redistricting process that takes place every 10 years, it is still considered a safe seat for the Democratic Party. Democrats make up 48 percent of registered voters, compared to the 30 percent that are registered Republicans. Another 20 percent of registered voters are unaffiliated.
“This is not a district that is considered Republican friendly,” said Alexander Hornaday, an attorney consulting Carr on election law and finances. “But even if Michael doesn’t win, I’m excited to show my fellow Republicans that you can be a good Republican, a loyal Republican and a gay Republican.”
Denver GOP Chairwoman Wendy Warner said she isn’t concerned with Carr’s sexual orientation.
“Mr. Carr’s sexual orientation is not our focus,” she said. “Our focus needs to be on economic issues. Some big decisions have to be made next year and we need strong, prudent and fiscal conservatives in the state legislature.”
Warner said in her three decades of politics she’s seen Republicans win Denver seats and she thinks with the right ground game it can happen again.
“It’s not impossible,” she said. “It’s a good year for Republicans.”
“I’m anxious to have candidates that are ready to run,” she continued. “It takes a lot of effort to be a Republican in Denver. It will take a lot of hard work, but I’ve heard Mr. Carr might be that type of person.”
Carr, a native of Illinois, owns his own public relations business. He and his partner Fred Bachhuber formed a civil union there in January. Since moving to Colorado in 2011, Carr has taken an active role in Republican and LGBT politics including authoring a plank position in support of the Colorado Civil Union Act for the Denver Republican Party.
The proposal won a majority vote, but fell short of the two-third majority needed to become an official position of the party.
The state’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, One Colorado, said it was excited to hear about Carr’s potential candidacy but cautioned it has long been a supporter of Steadman’s.
“We love to see LGBT people run for office,” said deputy director Jace Woodrum. “We need pro-equality legislatures on both side of the aisle. LGBT issues aside, Sen. Steadman is considered one of the state’s best lawmakers. He’s more than just that, he’s a statesman.”
Nevertheless, Woodrum said his organization’s PAC would consider endorsing Carr like they do all candidates.
“We’re looking forward to endorsing a bipartisan slate like we did in 2010,” he said.
Neither Carr nor Steadman were immediately available for comment.
Steadman was first appointed to his seat in 2009 when out lesbian state Sen. Jennifer Veiga announced her resignation. Veiga moved to Australia with her partner.