Politics

A Republican Face of Diversity That No One Saw

Darryl Glenn is just one of two Senate candidates to speak at RNC

Darryl Glenn, the Republican nominee for Senate in Colorado, spoke during the first night of the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Darryl Glenn is one of the few African-American faces to appear onstage in Cleveland this week. But Republicans could be forgiven for not knowing who he is.  

Cable stations took his four-minute speech Monday night as an opportunity to cut away from live coverage of the floor and turn to analysis and commercial breaks.  

As the Republican nominee for Senate in Colorado, Glenn’s one of just two Senate candidates with a speaking slot at the convention. Many candidates facing election this year have shied away from Cleveland, not wishing to be associated with presumptive nominee Donald Trump. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is speaking about homeland security Tuesday night.  

[ The One Vulnerable Senator Who Didn't Stay Away ]  

Glenn’s running in the only race in which Republicans had a chance of knocking off an incumbent Democrat . But even among the floor seating for his own delegation, there were empty chairs during Glenn's address.  

“My name is Darryl Glenn and I'm an unapologetic Christian, constitutional conservative, pro-life, Second-Amendment-loving veteran and I'm your Republican nominee for United States Senate in the number one battleground state in this country... Colorado,” Glenn said in his opening remarks.  

Glenn’s rise came suddenly and unexpectedly. He won a five-way primary late last month, finishing 13 points ahead of the second-place finisher, a self-funder who poured millions into the race and had the tacit support of establishment Republicans.   

The surprising part about Glenn’s victory was that he did it without a traditional campaign infrastructure. Volunteers staffed his campaign , and he struggled to raise money. He hasn't yet reported his second quarter fundraising haul, but he ended the pre-primary reporting period with just over $50,000 in the bank.  

He benefited from support from Senate Conservatives Fund, which funneled half a million dollars to his campaign late in the primary, and endorsements from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.  

[ Meet the Senate Candidate Who Uses Only Volunteers ]  

Establishment Republicans aren’t interested in Glenn and have essentially written off this race. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet has more than $6 million in the bank, and in a presidential year, is favored to win .  

[ How Michael Bennet Got Lucky ]   

While this may not be Glenn’s year at the ballot box, Monday night could have been an opportunity for him to introduce himself to a national audience — and for his party to showcase its diversity.  

“I'm often asked, ‘Why are you a Republican? ’” the El Paso County Commissioner said Monday night.  

Speaking during the “Make America Safe Again” portion of the convention, Glenn directed his comments to President Barack Obama and said that America had become more racially divided during his presidency.  

“Neighborhoods have become more violent under your watch. Your rhetoric has a direct impact on the relationship between communities and the police,” he said.  

He defended “our heroes in blue" — a central theme of day one of the convention — before pivoting to a typically Republican argument about the importance of the family structure.  

“Safe neighborhoods happen when fathers and mothers are in the home,” he said.  

His catchiest line, however, was an attack on Hillary Clinton.  

“We all know she loves her pantsuits, but we should send her an email... and tell her she deserves a bright orange jumpsuit.”  

Most Republicans watching the convention at home, however, probably missed it.  

Contact Pathé at simonepathe@rollcall.com and follow her on Twitter at @sfpathe.

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