Darryl Glenn
Darryl Glenn | wikipedia

Black Senate Candidate Didn't Draw Black Support

DENVER -- Darryl Glenn may have been the first black candidate nominated by a major party for U.S. Senate in Colorado, but he apparently didn’t receive much support from the African-American community.

Glenn’s far right views along with likely minority opposition to the top of the Republican ticket headed by Donald Trump made it difficult for Glenn to receive significant black support, said Denver pollster and political analyst Floyd Ciruli.

“As an African American who managed to have credentials on national security issues, he could potentially attract more conservative African Americans who tend to have pretty good experience with the military,” he said. “But that’s not how the race got framed. He wasn’t seen as a very credible candidate and much less so in the black community.”

Glenn served for two decades in the U.S. Air Force, rising to lieutenant colonel by the time he retired in 2009. He is in his second term as El Paso County Commission, which is one of the most conservative parts of the state.

Glenn lost the state by 45 to 49 percent of the vote in a year when Trump won the presidency and his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton only eked out 2.9 percentage points in the increasingly Democratic state.

While vote totals are not broken out by race and precinct results were not yet available, Glenn took significant losses in counties with Colorado's largest black populations.

Denver, which at 10 percent has more than twice the black population of the whole state, went for U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet over Glenn by nearly a 4 to 1 margin.

Just east of Denver, Arapahoe County, which has the largest black population, voted for Bennet by 54 to 41 percent, election records show.  The county's black population last year was 11 percent, according to the Census Bureau, and overall minority population there was more than 22 percent.

During his most recent poll released a week before the election, Ciruli’s sample of black voters was so small that he is not sure what significance he can apply to it but his polling showed Glenn garnering about seven percent of the black vote. Black registered voters account for about 3 percent of voters.

Glenn spokeswoman Katey Price did not respond to emails seeking comment, and Bennet staff did not respond to a call left on the campaign voicemail or an email to the press office email. A call and email left at Glenn's county office were not returned.

But the right Republican candidate has an opportunity with African Americans because many Colorado black residents are not very happy with Bennet, said Pastor Reginald C. Holmes, vice president of the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance.

Glenn "doesn’t simply get an in because of his skin color,” Holmes said. “We are looking at the possibility (of supporting Republicans) but we need to find a candidate that is a little less rabid.”

Holmes pointed out the alliance supported the late Lt. Gov. Joe Rogers who was a black Republican, but held less conservative views than Glenn.

This would have been a good year for Republicans to put up a candidate that is palatable to African Americans and supports issues like job creation and training programs for youth because Colorado's black community feels Bennet doesn't care about their needs and only comes around when he wants votes, Holmes said.

“He just shows up at the next election cycle and for me that tantamount to pimping and prostituting the black vote,” he said. “We are seriously looking for a Republican who has the right message and is willing to listen to our concerns and issues.”

Former Colorado House Speaker Terrance Carroll, a Denver Democrat who was the first African American to hold the speaker’s post in Colorado, agreed with Holmes that Glenn was not the right kind of candidate to get a majority of black support in Colorado.

“I think if they ran a moderate Republican in the vein of Colin Powell, there would be a lot of support,” he said. “Remember, African Americans were Republicans for a long time and that changed sometime in the era of FDR.”

But Carroll disputed that Bennet hasn’t done a lot for the African American community.

“I’m not completely surprised that the ministerial alliance would say that because their role is to be an agitator -- to hold government officials accountable,” he said. “From my perspective, Bennet has done a lot on issues that the black community supports like education reform.”