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Openly gay Dan Baer of Colorado running for US Senate seat

Openly gay Dan Baer of Colorado running for US Senate seat

Will Colorado elect an openly gay man to the US Senate in 2020? That’s a distinct possibility as Dan Baer has thrown his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination.

The 42-year-old Baer was the ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe under President Barack Obama, serving from August 2013 to January 2017.

A former economics and business ethics professor at Georgetown University, Baer also served as an assistant secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. Most recently, he was head of Colorado’s Department of Higher Education.

If Baer gets the Democratic nomination, he would be running against the Republican incumbent, attorney Cory Gardner.

Gardner is considered one of the most vulnerable US Senators up for re-election in 2020. Although elected as a moderate in 2014, Gardner has grown increasingly conservative, voting in favor of many of President Donald Trump’s policies.

Crowded Democratic field

However, getting the Democratic nomination may prove difficult for Dan Baer. His opponents have greater name recognition in the state than he does.

Those Democratic opponents include former state senator Mike Johnston, former state speaker of the house Andrew Romanoff and former US attorney John Walsh.

If Baer wins, he would be the first openly gay man to ever serve in the US Senate.

There are LGBTI women in the Senate, but no openly gay men. In 2018, Arizona voters sent openly bisexual Kyrsten Sinema to the US Senate while Wisconsin voters re-elected openly lesbian Tammy Baldwin, who has been in the Senate since 2013.

Last year, Colorado voters elected an openly gay man, Jared Polis, to be the state’s governor. So, it’s not a far fetched notion to think the state could elect a gay man to the US.Senate.

Yet, Baer has never won elected office before. He was in the Democratic primary for Colorado’s 7th Congressional District in 2018, but ended his campaign when US Rep. Ed Perlmutter decided to seek another term.

Married to his longtime partner, Brian Walsh, since August 2014, Baer drives part time for the Lyft ride service, saying in a campaign ad that it’s a way to connect with voters and hear their issues.

He told the Denver Post his time in Vienna as ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe makes him strong on foreign affairs. Baer reports foreign affairs are increasingly relevant to voters thanks to Trump’s trade wars and tariffs.

In his campaign ad, he says he wants to create policies that support the middle class, saying that America needs a hard reset.