Darryl Glenn, a Republican contender for Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet‘s seat, is speaking Monday at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland where he hopes to boost his chances for winning a competitive race in a purple state.
Glenn is a relatively unknown politician, even in his home state, the Denver Post reports. But after sharing the stage with some of the country’s heaviest political hitters, including presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, whom he supports (Glenn called Trump “a patriot“), Glenn, a county commissioner and former Colorado Springs City Council member, is hoping the national attention will help him beat Bennet.
He’s garnered support of Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz, and he’s a powerlifter-turned-family attorney. Here is what you need to know about 50-year-old, black conservative Glenn:
1. He’s Been Endorsed By Conservatives But Not The Establishment
Glenn is running for a seat held by Bennet, a Democrat appointed in 2009 to the post by then-Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter. Bennet, a Yale-educated lawyer and former Denver schools superintendent who is Jewish, won an election in 2010 but is facing an uphill battle to win re-election. A recent Quinnipiac poll found 41 percent of Colorado voters don’t believe Bennet should return to Washington — and only 37 percent approve of his work.
So, after surprising Colorado Republicans with an impassioned speech and winning the state Republicans’ nomination, Glenn is hoping to capitalize on the national limelight and cash in support from other GOP politicos.
Glenn has already received endorsements from Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Lee (Utah) and Nebraska’s Ben Sasse. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was Sen. John McCain’s running mate in 2008, has also announced her support for Glenn, along with Black Conservatives:
— Black Conservatives (@BlacksFund) June 29, 2016
The Senate majority is up for grabs this year and if Glenn can make heads turn (and wallets open to battle Bennet’s multimillion-dollar arsenal) at the Republican convention, he might be able to help the party maintain its majority in the 100-seat chamber. The National Senatorial Republican Committee, the fundraising group working to elect GOP senators, however, has ignored him, CNN reports.
“Senate Conservatives Fund got him through the primary and they should commit to spending in the general,” an anonymous NSRC aide told CNN.
The Washington Post’s political blog, The Fix, ranked the Bennet’s re-election bid as No. 8 in its “Top 10 Senate Races of 2016.”
2. He’s Black, Said ‘Racism Does Exist’ & Has Said ‘All lives matter’
In what has become a national divide over race and equality, with one side emphasizing “black lives matter” and the other countering with “all lives matter,” the black conservative Glenn showed his support for the latter, telling the convention who nominated him over more prominent state party leaders that “All lives matter.”
“I can unify the party, and I believe once we actually focus on the issues, Michael Bennet is going to have to run on his record,” Glenn said, reported by the Denver Post. “He isn’t going to be able to pander to the other side saying we’re all racist, sexist homophobes.”
Glenn has said that black activists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson “don’t speak for me,” the Daily Caller reported.
“They think just think just because, hey, you’re black, you’re supposed to vote for the Democrats. That’s wrong ladies and gentlemen. We need to start standing up for freedom and liberty,” he said in the Daily Caller article.
In an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, Glenn said race problems in America “start from the top,” adding that President Obama “is almost race-baiting and picking and choosing which issues to interact in.” He added later that “a thoughtful discussion” between law enforcement and community leaders would help solve the problem.
Glenn says in a Facebook video by his campaign saluting Martin Luther King, Jr., that “racism does exist, but it’s really how you actually cope with that.”
“If you grow up thinking that government or ‘The Man’ is holding you down, then you’re automatically putting an artificial ceiling,” he said later in the video.
3. Glenn’s Family: A Divorced Father Of Two 20-Somethings
Little has been disclosed this election cycle about Glenn’s private family life, except that he has acknowledged he is a divorced father of two.
His ex-wife is Erin, according to his old bio on the City of Colorado Springs website. Erin Glenn’s personal Facebook page states she’s divorced.
Glenn has two daughters — Ashley and Kristy — who celebrated with him after he won the Republican primary June 28.
Glenn told the Denver Post he’s “an open book” yet declined to discuss his ex-wife and children, who are in their mid-20s. He told the Post he was trying to preserve their privacy.
In his acceptance speech at the Colorado Republican Convention, Glenn acknowledged his “family” and also thanked his mom for her giving him life.
4. The ‘Unapologetic Christian Conservative, Pro-Life, 2nd Amendment’ Candidate
Glenn received praise for his Colorado convention speech, where he declared he is an “unapologetic Christian conservative, pro-life, Second Amendment” candidate.
Glenn’s campaign Facebook page has a selfie-video of him updating voters from his home church, New Life Church. “We’re here filling up on the Holy Spirit,” he tells viewers. “Let’s go Team Glenn. Let’s remove Bennet from the Senate. God bless.”
Dr. James Dobson, an evangelical author and radio host, endorsed Glenn in a letter, saying, “For years, I have joined millions of people across America in praying that God would raise-up leaders to restore this great nation. I am excited that Darryl has answered that call and has stepped up to offer his services to the people of Colorado.”
Days after the Orlando nightclub shooting, Glenn posted to Facebook that “There is a push right now to demand stricter gun laws for individuals who appear on the governmental watch list. Proponents of these restrictions fail to address the current problems we still have regarding the listing of individuals without probable cause that they’re a potential threat.”
Glenn told Colorado Public Radio that the “No Fly, No Buy” list proposal raises concerns about due process — and that members of Congress are on the list.
“So I’m very leery because I don’t think one exists that there’s a foolproof system that allows people to be able to object to the fact that if they’re placed on the list, not [unclear] their own voice and that, that they can actually get off of it. There are members of Congress that are on this list so I really question that. We need to be very careful not to infringe upon our freedoms and liberties,” he said.
The Colorado Springs Independent has compiled years of Glenn interviews and comments, where he tackles local issues, immigration (“I don’t know what people don’t understand about illegal. We need to make sure that we terminate those strings that encourage people to violate the rule of law.”), President Obama (“I always take issue with the fact that he’s labeled the first black president, because it totally ignores the other half of his family.”) and much more.
5. Glenn Was a Collegiate Powerlifter and Personal Trainer At His Own ‘Ultimate Fitness Zone’ Business
Glenn also specializes in family law at his personal firm, Glenn Law Firm. He has been admitted to the state’s bar since 1999.