A Colorado Democratic Senate candidate thanked a supporter for harassing a Republican activist over his race in a newly released video.
Former state representative Andrew Romanoff (D., Colo.) praised a supporter named Vincent for confronting a black America Rising tracker outside a campaign event Sunday. Vincent approached the tracker, named Derrick, to question how a black man could support a Republican. Romanoff then smiled and said, "Thanks, Vincent."
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"I will admit to being really really curious about a brother who is supporting Republicans," Vincent said to Derrick as Romanoff was walking to his car. "They told me that there was an African American dude supporting Republicans and I said, ‘no no it's not happening.' But it is. You're a brother! Good lord man, what you thinking?"
"They told you to keep quiet. And you do what you're told?" Vincent asked.
"I don't know why you're talking to me," Derrick responded.
Rather than confront his supporter's racial harassment, Romanoff appeared pleased with the display. "Thanks, Vincent," he said with a smile. Romanoff is running in a crowded Democratic primary to challenge GOP senator Cory Gardner in 2020.
Colorado Rising Action executive director Michael Fields said Derrick has been abused based on the color of his skin at multiple Democratic campaign rallies. Fields criticized Romanoff for welcoming, rather than challenging, his supporter's harassment.
"What this guy is saying is that someone's skin color should dictate their political party and beliefs," Fields said in a statement. "Unfortunately this isn’t the first time that Derrick has been the target of attacks like this at Democrat events. Romanoff should have done the right thing instead of thanking his supporter."
The harassment continued after Romanoff had walked away and entered his car.
"Now I understand, 'cause the brother who would be supporting Cory Gardner would be the guy who does what he's told. Good lord. Lord help us," Vincent said. "I've seen it all. Let me get a picture of this dude," he added, saying his friends would not believe it.
Derrick has become "the most consistent fixture on Colorado's Senate campaign trail" attending events for several Democratic candidates, according to the Denver Post, which noted Romanoff has interacted with the tracker more than other candidates.