Plenty of mid-term candidates on Pitkin Democrats’ menu for August dinner | AspenTimes.com

Plenty of mid-term candidates on Pitkin Democrats’ menu for August dinner

Three candidates eyeing the Democratic nomination for the 2018 state gubernatorial race headline a list of politicians who will be in Aspen for the Pitkin County Democratic Party's seventh annual dinner Aug. 2.

Entrepreneur Noel Ginsburg, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis and former state Sen. Mike Johnston, all of whom are vying for the nomination, will be given equal time to speak at the event, which will be held at T Lazy 7 Ranch, said Howard Wallach, president of the Pitkin County Democratic Party.

"On the Western Slope, it's hard to find a bunch of (candidates) in the same place who will be listened to," Wallach said.

Former state treasurer Cary Kennedy, who also is seeking the nomination, likely will not attend because of a scheduling conflict, Wallach said. Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne also reportedly is mulling a run for the Democratic nomination, thanks in part to the recent announcement by U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter to drop out of the contest.

Polis also will play host to a breakfast from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Aug. 3 at Aspen Square; Ginsburg is set for a coffee session from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Aug. 4 at Spring Cafe.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, cannot seek re-election due to term limits. That's created wide-open fields in both parties, with Republican contenders so far including Donald Trump's presidential campaign co-chairman for Colorado, Steve Barlock; 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler; Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter; former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez; and former state Rep. Victor Mitchell.

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Next month's dinner is a fundraising event for the Pitkin County Democratic Party, but Wallach noted that candidates will be able to do their own fundraising and speak to the gathering.

Other candidates scheduled to attend the dinner include state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, who is seeking her party's nomination for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, which includes Aspen and the Western Slope. Republican Scott Tipton has been the district's representative since 2011. Tipton reclaimed his seat with nearly 55 percent of the vote in November, topping former Aspen resident Gail Schwartz, who drew 40 percent.

Three candidates for the state attorney general, a seat held by first-term Republican Cynthia Coffman, also will attend the dinner. Those candidates include Jefferson County deputy prosecutor Michael Dougherty, Denver attorney Brad Levin, State Rep. Joe Salazar and former University of Colorado Law School Dean Phil Weiser. Dougherty also will hold a meet-and-greet from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 2 at Aspen Brewing Co.

That's the extent of the Democratic field so far in the race for attorney general.

"We have all of the candidates for attorney general, which is pretty extraordinary," Wallach said.

Also scheduled to attend is Julie McCluskie, who is seeking to replace fellow party member and incumbent Millie Hamner in the Colorado House of Representatives District 61, which includes Aspen. Hamner is leaving because of term limits in January 2019.

Jena Griswold of Louisville, who is running for secretary of state — a seat currently held by Republican Wayne Williams — also is scheduled to attend, as well as Aurora tech entrepreneur Levi Tillemann, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 6th Congressional District, which is currently held by Rep. Mike Coffman.

Ticket prices range from $50 for general admission to $2,500 for a host table that seats up to 10. Wallach said the goal is for each table to have a candidate.

Tickets are available for purchase at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/pitcodems17.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com

Political events in Aspen

Local political junkies also can get their fixes with other upcoming events that include:

• Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson will interview Republican governors Doug Burgum of North Dakota, Eric Greitens of Missouri and Scott Walker of Wisconsin from 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 25, at Greenwald Pavilion on the Aspen Meadows campus. The talk is part of the McCloskey Speaker Series. Cost is $25.

• Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be in town to talk about her longtime friend and the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Isaacson will interview her from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 1 at Greenwald Pavilion. The event is part of McCloskey Speaker Series. Cost is $25.

• Former national security advisors Condoleeza Rice, Stephen Hadley, Susan Rice and Thomas Donilon will participate in a discussion with Nicholas Burns, professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The talk is from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Aug. 4 at Greenwald Pavilion.