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Daniel Baer

Dan Baer, a Democrat who served as a diplomat under President Barack Obama, said Monday evening that he will run for U.S. Senate.

He joins a growing primary field of contenders who want to unseat Republican Cory Gardner next year. Baer announced his candidacy on Denver television station 9News.

“I think what most probably voters want to know is that I probably have the same concerns that they do,” he said on the station’s program, “Next with Kyle Clark.” “I mean, I look at what’s going on in our politics today and I want to say: ‘Can somebody please send the manager over. This doesn’t look like the country or the state that I know and that I want to live in.'”

MORE: Here’s who’s running to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020 — and who’s thinking about it

Baer was U.S. Ambassador for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe under Obama from 2013 to 2017. He more recently served as head of Colorado’s Department of Higher Education.

During the 2018 election cycle, Baer was briefly a candidate for Colorado’s 7th Congressional District seat. He ended his campaign when U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, the incumbent Democrat, reversed his decision to leave politics and sought another term.

That was Baer’s first and only run for public office. He faces a name ID hurdle against better-known candidates already in the Democratic primary.

A host of other Democrats — including Perlmutter and U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, of Boulder — also haven’t ruled out jumping into the contest.

If elected, Baer would be the first openly gay man to serve in the U.S. Senate.

The race to unseat Gardner is expected to draw tens of millions of dollars and be among the most watched 2020 contests.

Jesse Paul

The Colorado Sun — Desk: 720-432-2229 Jesse Paul is a political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is...