Colorado's Sanders Supporters Still Feel Mixed About Clinton's Historic Nomination

Jul 29, 2016
Originally published on July 30, 2016 1:10 pm

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders handily won Colorado's caucuses. That fact was not forgotten after Hillary Clinton's speech Thursday night, accepting the Democratic presidential nomination. But four days of unity building in Philadelphia during the 2016 Democratic National Convention seemed to help.

State Rep. Jonathon Singer of Longmont, a Sanders delegate, said Clinton's biggest challenge is that many voters don't trust her. Think emails and the wounds of a long primary. Clinton will get his vote come November though, because he doesn't want Republican candidate Donald Trump to become president.

"It's not worth losing things like immigration reform and reproductive choices," Singer said.

Other Colorado delegates like Cleo Dioletis of Denver are still struggling. She wore a neon green t-shirt during Clinton's speech saying "enough is enough." So did many other Colorado delegates -- a tribute to Sanders. Dioletis plans to leave the Democratic party behind. Instead, she said she will join the Green Party, known for being more progressive than the Democratic Party.

"I'm not saying I would support Trump, God forbid, I hate him, but I'm not going to vote for the least of two evils, because when you're voting for the least of two evils, you're still voting evil," Dioletis said.

Dioletis is disappointed in Clinton's involvement in the State Department email server issue -- even if no charges will be filed.

"My biggest thing about Hillary is the lying," she said. "When an FBI claims you used poor judgment, and when she lied to Congress, that's pretty big stuff."

Colorado also has some enthusiastic Clinton supporters. Democratic state Sen. Jesse Ulibarri of Westminster, an early supporter of Clinton in this campaign, sees her as an experienced leader who will govern effectively, keeping her promises.

"I think she is one of the most tenacious and hard working people in politics, but hearing from so many folks who have actually done the work alongside with her, it's been clear to me for such a long time that she's the right person for the job," he said.

Clinton tried to drive that point home in her DNC acceptance speech, referencing her years of public service -- First Lady, to U.S Senator to Secretary of State.

"My job titles only tell you what I've done, they don't tell you why," she said. "The truth is for all these ears of public serviceā€¦. the service part has always come easier to me than the public part. I get it. People just don't know to make of me."

Jerad Sutton, a 7th grade math teacher from Greeley, said last winter he didn't know who to back, but as a strong supporter of President Barack Obama, he decided that Clinton was the best person to carry on that legacy.

"I mean, that's what I want," he said. "That's what I want continued, along with some of the issues brought up by the Bernie Sanders supporters."

Sutton said the party's divide worried him going into the convention. Especially when he found out that he would be sharing a hotel room with three Bernie supporters.

"I was kind of concerned at first and we all had lunch and realized it was going to be OK."

For Sutton, sharing ideas between the Clinton and Sanders supporters is crucial to breaking down barriers. Colorado is still arguably a swing state and it could be a key battleground in the coming months. A nod to that possibility was the presence of Coloradoans at the convention, including Gov. John Hickenlooper. He shared his familiar story of starting a brewpub with the nation... using the story as a selling point for Clinton, saying she'd be good for small business.

As for Donald Trump, he will follow Hillary Clinton's speech by making campaign stops in both Colorado Springs and Denver, trying to win votes here.

Read More: Accepting Party's Nomination, Clinton Says: 'When There Are No Ceilings, The Sky's The Limit'

Fact Check: Clinton's Speech To The Democratic Convention, Annotated

Copyright 2016 KUNC-FM. To see more, visit KUNC-FM.