Democrat Andrew Romanoff jumped into the 2020 race to challenge Sen. Cory Gardner, according a Thursday report by the Denver Post. The field of high-profile candidates is growing quickly; last week AR Intel highlighted Mike Johnston (D-CO), a failed 2018 gubernatorial candidate who also officially entered the race.
Andrew Romanoff is a fairly well-known entity in Colorado politics and would be a formidable opponent in both a Democratic primary and a general election. In anticipation of his Senate announcement, AR Intel pulled together the 4 most important things to know about Andrew Romanoff.
1) Successful State Politician, Unsuccessful Federal Politician
Romanoff was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 2000, and he held his seat until 2008. In 2004, after serving only two terms, Romanoff was named Speaker of the House. Romanoff led House Democrats until 2008.
In September 2009, Romanoff announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate. Although he had the backing of former President Bill Clinton, his run was short lived. In August 2010, Romanoff was defeated in the Democratic primary by Sen. Michael Bennett (who went on to win the general election). Four years later, Romanoff would make a second run for federal office, this time against incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District. Romanoff was once again unsuccessful and lost to Coffman by nearly 9 points.
Since losing his election over four years ago, Romanoff has largely removed himself from the public eye. He has served as the president and CEO of Mental Health Colorado since 2015, and most of his public statements over the past several years have been centered on the issues of mental health.
2) Opposed Giving Tax Surpluses Back To Taxpayers
In 2008, Romanoff led a crusade to change the state constitution by undoing parts of the “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.” Amendment 59, sponsored by Romanoff, would have eliminated the constitutional requirement that revenues in excess of a certain amount be refunded to taxpayers. The amendment would have effectively allowed the state government to keep tax surpluses for themselves and deny taxpayers’ ability to control excessive government spending during prosperous times.
Romanoff justified his ballot initiative by arguing that the change could be used to help create a “rainy day fund” for state education. Despite this olive branch, Romanoff failed to receive support for the initiative from teachers unions in the state. The initiative failed and only garnered support from about 42% of voters.
3) Single-Payer Advocate
When running against him in 2010, Romanoff argued that he was more progressive than Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). One area he pointed to in order to highlight the difference between the two was Romanoff’s total commitment to single-payer health care. When The Denver Post asked him what the key policy differences between him and Sen. Bennet, Romanoff had the following to say:
“I support a universal, single-payer, non-profit health plan [for] the same reason the rest of the industrialized world has taken that route. My opponent, to the best of my ability, does not. It’s a little hard to tell. In some cases the differences between us is that I take positions. When people ask me questions, if I have a stand I try to answer it. If I don’t, I acknowledge that, too.”
4) In Favor Of Carbon Taxes
In the same interview with The Denver Post in which he trumpeted his support for single-payer, Romanoff also expressed his support for a carbon tax. When asked what his preferred energy policy would be, he had the following to say:
“I don’t think there’s a single solution here because the responsibility rests not just with the American government or state governments but with individuals, with consumers, with homeowners, with businesses, ranches and farms. We ought to harness all of these efforts in the public and private sectors to reduce our use of fossil fuel and to minimize carbon emissions and to increase energy efficiency and conservation.”
When asked specifically about a cap-and-trade bill, Romanoff said he would prefer a “revenue neutral carbon tax:”
“I think the cap and trade plan, or variations thereof, are less transparent, less efficient, less effective, more susceptible to gaming, than a revenue-neutral carbon tax. And by that I mean you would increase the fees on pollution and decrease the tax on income. You’re going to get less of any activity that you tax so what we’re doing by taxing work is discouraging the sort of activity we ought to be promoting. What we ought to be discouraging instead is carbon emissions, and that’s where a fee would be more properly placed.”