DENVER — The number of Democrats hoping to unseat Colorado’s Senator Cory Gardner (R) just grew by one.

Dan Baer most recently worked for Governor John Hickenlooper as the director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Before that, he was an official in the Obama administration, serving as an ambassador for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Baer also attempted a Congressional run in 2017 but ultimately withdrew when fellow Democrat, Representative Ed Perlmutter, decided to keep his seat in Colorado’s 7th District in 2017. This time, he says, he wants to combine his experience from overseas and his Colorado upbringing to stand out in the field of Democrats, and then take down Gardner in 2020.

“It’s hard to tell where Cory Gardner ends and Donald Trump begins these days because Cory Gardner has been doing Donald Trump’s bidding for the last few years,” he said. “I think we should fire Cory Gardner, and I look forward to making that case.”

Baer was born in Denver. He grew up in Littleton and Golden. He says it was during his time in Vienna, while working for Obama, that he decided to get involved in Colorado politics.

“After the Trump election, my husband turned to me and said, ‘Look, the values that we care about in the world are most under threat at home, and we should move home and be on the side of good things happening,’” he said.

Baer is in the mold of less-ideologically strident candidates who have foreign policy or military experience. Democrats ran them en-masse in 2018, including Colorado Congressman Jason Crow, who defeated Republican Mike Coffman.

If Baer wins the race, he’d be the first openly gay man in the U.S. Senate. He says that matters to him, but it’s not the only fact he wants voters to know.

“…I think I probably bring some empathy to the table, that we each have our own stories, and my story is one that has caused me to be sensitive to those have been left out or left behind, and I think that affects who I am, and I think that should matter more than the fact that I happen to be gay to Democratic primary voters,” he said. “ I think what most voters probably want to know is that I probably have the same concerns that they do.”

Gardner's 2020 re-election campaign is expected to be one of the most closely contested in America. Other Democrats like Mike Johnston and Andrew Romanoff have already announced their runs. Baer will file his paperwork on Tuesday.

You can see Kyle Clark's full interview with Baer here