AURORA| A former Obama administration advisor with deep ties to Colorado Democrats has joined the growing number of Dems seeking the nomination to try and unseat U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in the 6th Congressional District.
Levi Tillemann expectedly made official his candidacy for the Democratic nomination Sunday after a several-week ‘listening tour’ around the district. Tillemann, who worked with the Obama administration on energy policy, is also an author and business owner. A resident of Aurora, Tillemann is in his mid 30s and single.
While Coffman’s name came up sporadically during the event, Tilleman and his backers slammed President Donald Trump and framed the 2018 election as a chance to counteract the administration’s policies. Tillemann took time in his speech to also call out Democrats for being too soft when it comes to political fights.
“Taking back the House of Representatives is the first step in re-establishing some sense of decency and accountability in Washington,” Tillemann said during the event. “There was this nagging voice in the back of my head, that now is your time to stand up. Too many Democrats have become too soft. They’ve become too genteel. They’ve forgotten how to fight, and we need to fight.”
While a newcomer to running for office, Tillemann has family experience in politics to draw upon. His grandmother Nancy Dick was the Democratic Lt. Governor of Colorado from 1979-1987 and his grandfather Tom Lantos was the only Holocaust survivor to serve as a U.S. Representative.
Dick was on hand Sunday at the announcement party to give Tillemann an endorsement she said was due to her political knowledge and not just for her love of her grandchild.
“Levi will be a superb representative for all of you here in Colorado’s 6th District. He’s someone who has done extraordinarily good work not only in energy but also in doing the things that need to be done to help represent people without representation,” Dick said. “Speaking as an ex politician, I don’t think you can find anyone better.”
Tillemann’s announcement means so far four Democrats are vying for the party’s nomination in little less than a year. Already in the race are lawyer David Aarestad, former Bernie Sanders delegate Gabriel McArthur, and lawyer and veteran Jason Crow, who has been racking up endorsements from major voices in the state Democratic party.
Tillemann didn’t seem worried about standing out in a crowded field and looked forward to pushing his message throughout the primary. He spent a lot of time Sunday highlighting not only his experience in different cultural communities, but also his biggest strength from his perspective: his wonkish knowledge of many issues facing Colorado and the country.
“I think the people of Colorado are smart and will gravitate toward candidates who have ideas and a vision for the future and want to make the future work for them. And I think we’re that campaign,” Tillemann said. “Nobody can say if a rough and tumble primary is going to make a candidate weaker or stronger. Personally I think the whole idea of clearing a field and trying to have someone coast to the nomination is against the logic of Democracy.”