The 2018 election is coming to a close and I felt it would be best, since many of us will be in different places on election day, to thank everyone before I turn into a pumpkin at 7:00p tonight. I am immensely proud of what we’ve done together. Win or lose we are not going back into the shadows, our greatest strength now is each other and I am excited to see what we do next!
Annie - running for office is an honor and a privilege, but it’s also a sacrifice for the candidate’s family and none more so than your spouse. Annie has encouraged, supported, and counseled me for years but this past year has been particularly demanding. Being married to me isn’t exactly easy in the most boring of years, so this year will be one I’m thanking her for in many years to come. I could not have done it without Annie.
Lilly - Although she may not understand it all yet, she has sacrificed many bedtime stories and chances to play without an end in sight. She has kept me grounded and focused on the things that matter most.
My Parents, Sandy & Leslie Rothe - My mother has been there to hear me vent about the campaign and is always there when we need her for family support. My father has more or less taken on every house project conceivable to prepare for the arrival of our second daughter since I’ve been occupied with the campaign. Without my parents help this last year I would not have been able to fight for this seat and I probably would’ve lost my mind before June.
Karin Asensio - When I decided to run I largely made that decision alone in a room with no one, I was told not to expect any support. Karin believed in me and in our community enough to take a chance and she instantly brought me more credibility and interest than I deserved. She built the campaign from the ground with her bare hands and believes in it more than anyone. She has been a friend and counselor for almost a year and is one of the most capable people I’ve ever met. If we did not have Karin it would not have been worth watching the election results come in tonight.
Jon & Amy Ross - I met Jon and Amy at a “Meet the Candidate” event at the party headquarters, and I wonder how different the campaign would have been if I had not made it to that event. Before they stepped up Annie and I were struggling to piece together videos for social media in an effort to reach anyone at all. Jon and Amy swooped in and a conservative estimate of their time suggests I’ll be indebted to them forever. More than that, their videos were seen over 70,000 times on YouTube alone and tens of thousands of times on Facebook, and helped us fight for the hearts and minds of Highlands Ranch in a way that has not been done before. If that were not enough we’ve become friends, a natural byproduct of spending hours and hours together talking politics and wishing I was a better actor and politician through numerous bloopers.
Dana Torpey-Newman & Erik Newman - Thanking Dana & Erik is like thanking the Room of Requirement at Hogwarts, without them we literally could not have formed an army. Dana and Erik opened their home to the resistance and raised the profile of Douglas County as a place to fight for. Dana has been one of the people I trust with everything on the campaign trail and someday, years from now, I know I’ll get a call from Dana and have to immediately assemble at the Freedom House to fight for truth and justice.
Howard Chou - Many candidates and activists throughout Colorado are going to be thanking Howard over the next 24 hours and it’s no wonder: he’s everywhere. He’s a friend and mentor, he took chances on me and wanted the best for the campaign even though I’m far from a perfect candidate. He could sit on the sidelines like anybody else but he doesn’t. He does everything he can to make tomorrow a better place for all of us. Whenever I was on the fence about a choice, Howard pushed me over into the right direction.
Dan & Paula Smith - The Smiths! First of all, Dan has endured many a tedious finance report for the campaign and that has allowed me to focus on other things during critical days of the campaign. Paula has basically won the Cougar Run vote for me and has been instrumental in bringing our progressive community together. Paula also easily takes 1st place for best postcard handwriting. Dan is serving as an election judge today too!
Darien & Joe Wilson - Without the Wilsons we probably would have knocked 1/5th the number of doors and Highlands Ranch would not have had a surge of progressivism so well-organized ready to make a difference. They have held the field operation in Highlands Ranch together with both hands and frankly put the professionals to shame when you consider how effectively they’ve mobilized this community. Darien has struck fear into the hearts of arch-conservatism in Douglas County and has received backlash that, although stressful, is proportional to the amount of good she is doing in the world.
Jason & Deserai Crow - Getting to know a couple in 3-minute segments every 2-5 weeks is not the ideal way to form a friendship, but I’ve come to know these two and I’m very glad I do. Whenever I’ve had a tough day or a down thought I’ve reminded myself that it’s nothing, nothing at all, compared to what The Crows have done. They are two of the most gracious, down-to-earth people you’ll meet and I would follow them anywhere. If that were not enough, they’ve taken the time and interest to be supportive of candidates up-and-down the ballot, and we will not forget it.
Team Crow - It’s no wonder Team Crow has gained the attention of everyone in professional politics, they are the best at what they do. They could have easily ignored me or ridden off my district and they didn’t. Whatsmore is they are fun to be around.
Michelle Leuenberger - Michelle shows up. Michelle is a believer. Some days you have massive crowds working on your campaign and some days it can feel like it’s you alone against the world, but whether it was 200 or 2 people in the room I knew Michelle would be there in the clutch to make a difference. On top of that - Michelle has been working at the Douglas County Clerk’s office helping actually operate our elections and will be sacrificing a well deserved drink in the process tonight.
Cathy & Michael Lees - The entire Lees Family was in charge of morale for me, especially early on in the campaign. They’ve been there as early as anyone trying to flip this seat, and I owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude for all their support. Cathy in particular has been burning 5A & 5B into the conscience of Douglas County and if you must spend time away from the HD43 campaign I accept that a good alternative place to be is making sure we have strong public education.
Kathy Boyer - Along with being the keystone of IHR and serving as a de facto field office in Highlands Ranch, Kathy is a secret weapon in Douglas County. I pity any campaign that has Kathy working for their opponent.
Kristen Hirsch - Kristen is the spark that lights the fire of resistance and our resident ambassador to the United States Capitol Police. I was trying for quite a while to come up with a good animal metaphor to describe Kristen, and I settled on a wolf. She is nurturing and kind, fiercely protective of her pack, and a hunter. I’m glad she’s on my side.
Sydney Ludwick & Shenika Carter - These two have inspired me and set the bar for anyone who seeks a nomination in Douglas County in the future. I have to add that some days it’s easy to think our country is falling apart, but then you see Sydney and Shenika fighting for a better tomorrow and it just restores your faith in humanity.
Julia Varnell-Sarjeant, Kamala Vanderkolk, Danielle Young-Kombo, Simone Aiken - It has been a remarkable journey getting to know these incredible, smart, dedicated women and working alongside them. We’ve laughed, argued, schemed, and soldiered on together. In many ways it’s a strange team because we each arrived without knowing the others, but there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them now.
Tim Krug - for being the Unicorn we deserve.
Maritza Carrera and LeAnn Joswick - The Douglas County Democratic Party would simply not be ready to build a blue wave without Maritza and LeAnn’s work over the last several years. We owe them a debt of gratitude and I appreciate everything they’ve done to fight for progressive values in a place that might best be described as crimson red.
Bette Davis - Bette gives advice and counsel without an agenda and is one of the most genuine people I’ve met. She was there from the beginning and has repeatedly gone out of her way to setup HD43 for success.
Bright Futures for Douglas County Kids - 5A and 5B would not be on the ballot if not for this group, so aside from the altruistic motive of making sure our schools don’t fall apart… the political strategist in me recognizes that getting people to vote down the ballot is made a lot easier by this group giving our community a reason to believe every vote matters.
Dave Young - I cannot say enough about Dave Young and how much I hope he is our next Treasurer. Dave has given me advice and, frankly, an example to live by when on the campaign trail. He genuinely enjoys engaging with people and if we could just get more people like Dave into politics I would rest a lot easier.
Phil Weiser - If anyone has been a motivator for Highlands Ranch to vote blue all the way through it’s Phil. I’m hoping Colorado finally gets an Attorney General that will fight or the people of our state. I also have to express my extreme gratitude for the work his campaign did to bring two pretty incredible canvassing events to our district.
Kristi & Mike Heyka - Kristi and Mike have the rare quality of making me feel good about being a politician. I watch the legislature and got into this campaign because you have a chance to actually make people’s lives better and Kristi and Mike have always made me feel like everything else can fall to the side if you just focus on actually trying to make a difference. They’ve kept me honest, become good friends, and given me great advice when I need it most.
Pam & Jeff DeLazaro - Never has a single happy hour yielded so much, Pam and Jeff have kept me laughing and encouraged for months. Pam staged her own solo phone bank for me one night and Jeff was the key inspiration for our final ad in the Highlands Ranch Herald.
Eiko Browning - Eiko has been a sounding board and advisor for almost a year. If we finally take CD6 it will be because of Eiko. Not because of the DCCC, not because of Trump… because of Eiko. We will not win HD43 if we do not win CD6, so I’m glad Eiko is out in the world making both happen.
Barry Peters - Barry has been a compass for me in so many moments. If I do pull this thing off, if I’m ever unsure of how to vote I’m fairly confident I can call Barry and be set straight within a few minutes. We haven’t always agreed on everything and that’s part of what I love about Barry, he’s an incredibly thoughtful man and my only regret is I haven’t been able to sit down with him and talk about anything but politics over a pint.
Jean-Paul Houlette - Every Colorado candidate needs a Californian in their corner and for me that’s Mr. Houlette. Sometimes you just need somebody to tell you it’s good that you’re fighting for your beliefs and that they’re proud of you.
Laura Reeves - Laura is perhaps one of the most selfless and powerful people I’ve had the privilege of meeting on this campaign. We’ve been on the scene together a lot but the moment that sticks out to me the most was just a few weeks ago when she offered to watch Lilly so that Annie and I could have a date night. Having people like that in your life can really motivate you to never let them down.
Aaron & Adrienne Ruhnow - The Ruhnows have been sporting Rothe T-shirts more than I have. They are the epitome of good people and I’m always relieved to see them in a room because I know I’ll have them to stand with, and I’d stand with them any time, any place.
Jennifer Mitkowski - The Phonebank Award goes to Jennifer. She shows up and while the rest of us are talking shop she’s getting out the vote.
Kelly Allan - Along with hosting one of my favorite house parties, Kelly has been marching throughout Highlands Ranch and CD6 to flip seats. Kelly means business and I have an infinite amount of respect for people that strike fear into the heart of apathy.
Jenny Guenther - Jenny is our mainline to CD6 and certainly raises the bar for what it means to be doing the groundwork for campaigns up-and-down the ballot. Jenny is a prime example of why we’re never returning to the days when Highlands Ranch was written off, and it’s thanks to her hard work that we’re viable in places we’ve never been before.
Monica Weiss - Along with providing the living room for one of my favorite campaign photos (Lilly in a campaign t- shirt), Monica has been been instrumental in keeping the grassroots on track in HD43.
Cindy & Nabheet Sandu - Our neighbors to the north, the Sandus, have been a wonderful presence on the campaign trail and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know them both.
Delana Maynes - Delana was one of the first people to give me a chance in Douglas County and I won’t forget it. She is a hard worker and a fighter and everyone I know who knows her is very glad to have her as a champion of progressive values in Douglas County.
Matt McGovern - For those of you that don’t know Matt, he is the watcher on the wall. He is charged with protecting and growing the Democratic majority in the state House of Representatives. For the first time in our history we had a Democrat running for all 65 House seats and that’s thanks to Matt. As a Democrat keenly interested in the legislature and an old friend of Matt’s, I was on his email list when he started looking for candidates in tough districts. I let him know I might be interested in stepping up for HD43 and he gave me his support, answered many phone calls, and fought more than anyone in Colorado to keep the House for progressive values.
Volunteers, Supporters, and Groups - We have this amazing volunteer corps and I was hesitant to write an extensive thank you because I was afraid I’d leave someone out when in truth my mind is just starting to lose a step in the last couple days. So let me just finish with some important honorable mentions:
The Wind Crest Democratic Alliance
Lt. Governor Donna Lynne
Nita & Randy Dunn
Sen. John Kefalas & William Russell
Rep. Alec Garnett
The Classic Dems of Vi
The Douglas County Clerk’s Election Division