Immigration, healthcare reform among topics at Democratic Senate candidate forum

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LONGMONT, Colo. -- All nine Democratic U.S. Senate candidates were under one roof Sunday, hoping to prove they're the best choice to take on incumbent, Republican Sen. Cory Gardner.

Nearly 400 people packed into the auditorium at City of Longmont Museum to hear the candidates speak. Candidates include former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, Stephany Rose Spaulding, Trish Zornio, Michelle Ferrigno Warren, Lorena Garcia, David Goldfischer, Diana Bray and Erik Underwood.

The forum was hosted by "Longmont Latinx Voice" and focused primarily on topics impacting the Latinx community in Colorado. Many candidates were asked whether they support permanent protections for those who fall under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

"Absolutely, I would commit wholeheartedly to make sure we have legislation to allow the DACA kids to be able to have a pathway to citizenship," said Hickenlooper.

"More than permanent status, a pathway to citizenship that doesn't take decades on end," said Romanoff.

Romanoff touched more than once on healthcare reform and his support of Medicare for All.

"I don't want to watch another half a million families in this nation continue to go broke because they can't afford their medical bills. Or leave 35,000 a year to die as they do because they can't afford to see a doctor," said Romanoff.

Romanoff did not shy away from pointing out differences between himself and Hickenlooper, who has expressed concern over Medicare for All.

"Democrats in Colorado understand that we are engaged in a real fight, not a coronation but a contest. There are real differences among us," said Romanoff.

Each candidate was given 15 to 20 minutes to answer questions. However, Underwood's time was shortened due to the fact he entered the race the same week the event was held.

Underwood explained part of the reason he jumped in to the already crowded race was due to others dropping out.

"People were dropping out because of someone and we know who that person is. I said let them push me around," said Underwood.

His remark is likely in reference to Hickenlooper who has received endorsements from prominent members of the Democratic Party. Many candidates left the race after Hickenlooper announced his candidacy in August.

Romanoff says he will support any Democrat who wins the nomination to challenge Sen. Gardner.

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