Three of the Colorado Republicans who unsuccessfully sought this year's U.S. Senate nomination formally endorsed congressional candidate Erik Aadland on Thursday, calling the West Point graduate the Republicans' best chance to win the open 7th District seat.
Aadland, who jumped from the U.S. Senate race to the congressional primary in December, announced that former rivals Eli Bremer, Gino Campana and Greg Moore are supporting him ahead of the June 28 primary election.
A former oil and gas executive and first-time candidate, Aadland is one of three GOP contenders in the Jefferson County-based district, which has been held for eight terms by retiring U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, an Arvada Democrat.
"We are pleased to stand with Erik Aadland as he endeavors to serve Coloradans in Congress," the three said in a joint statement released by Aadland's campaign. "His qualifications set him apart as a strong leader and a man of well-tested character. It is clear that Erik is the best-suited candidate to win this seat and address the concerns of all its constituents. He will represent and serve CD7 with the same vigor he brought to his previous careers in the military and the energy sector."
The three said that were impressed with Aadland when they were running against him for the Senate nomination, citing "the depths of his intelligence, empathy, and thorough contemplation."
"He is well-prepared and incorruptible in his aim to bring our concerns to Washington," they added. "With fidelity to our first principles of limited government and independent spirit, Erik will always put Colorado — and the limitless potential of her citizens — first."
Bremer, Campana and Moore failed to make the primary ballot at the April 9 state Republican assembly, where only state Rep. Ron Hanks, R-Cañon City, won support from enough delegates to qualify. Construction company owner Joe O'Dea also won a spot in the primary by turning in a sufficient number of petition signatures.
Aadland is facing Golden economist Tim Reichert and former legislative candiate Laurel Imer in the 7th CD primary. Democrat Brittany Pettersen, a state senator from Lakewood, is unopposed for her party's nomination.
Aadland said he was gratified to receive endorsements from the three former candidates, calling them "accomplished and resolute leaders."
"I appreciate them for courageously stepping up to run for public office, risking their finances, reputations and sacred honor in the political arena with the intent to serve this country in time of great crisis," he said. "They know the struggle of going before the public with their records and ideas to try to show a better way forward. With that hard-earned wisdom, they have chosen to back me as the strongest candidate for this congressional seat. I am deeply grateful for their support. I will live up to the promise they have seen in me as I represent Coloradans in Congress."
Ballots for Colorado's primary election go in the mail the week of June 4 and are due back to county clerks by 7 p.m. June 28. Unless they've signed up with a preference, unaffiliated voters will receive both a Democratic and Republican ballot but can only return one.