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Colorado foes air

primary attack ads

The Associated Press

DENVER -- In a sign of mounting concerns about John Hickenlooper's standing in the Colorado Democratic Senate primary, a new political group is spending at least $1 million on a scathing attack ad against Hickenlooper's rival in the race.

The ad slams former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff for spearheading a package of tough bills opposing illegal immigration in 2006 that the ad calls "the nation's toughest anti-immigrant laws." Romanoff has long since apologized for the measures.

Romanoff is the underdog in the June 30 primary, running as a populist insurgent against the establishment's choice, Hickenlooper, who has raised significantly more money. The winner will face Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in November.

The new group, Let's Turn Colorado Blue, formed on Tuesday, one day after Hickenlooper apologized for a 2014 quip comparing politicians to slaves being whipped to row "an ancient slave ship." Let's Turn Colorado Blue will not have to disclose its donors until after the primary. The group's existence was first reported by The Colorado Sun.

The slave ship gaffe was the latest in a line of stumbles, including garbling the meaning of the phrase Black Lives Matter during recent protests against police violence and fighting a subpoena before being found to have violated the state ethics law while governor. Privately, Colorado Democrats have been concerned about how Hickenlooper will perform in the primary.

Republicans are pulling for Romanoff, seeing him as an easier general election foe. Both the Gardner campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee began to air ads against Hickenlooper two weeks ago, leading the Democratic Senate Majority PAC to respond with a spot defending the former governor.

On Friday, Gov. Jared Polis, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and other leading state Democrats condemned Romanoff for spending $175,000 to air an attack ad against Hickenlooper. Hours later, the attack ad against Romanoff, which Let's Turn Colorado Blue described as a seven-figure buy, began to circulate.

Juneteenth mural

added at slave site

The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- In downtown Montgomery, at a city fountain where a slave market was believed to have once stood, a new painting proclaiming "Black Lives Matter" has been added.

Michelle Browder and a group of artists painted the message around the fountain at Court Square in downtown Montgomery, the Montgomery Advertiser reported. The painting was completed on Friday for Juneteenth, which references June 19, 1865 -- the day that marks when enslaved people in Texas learned they were free.

The spot is at what was once believed to be the center of the slave markets in Montgomery. The fountain is down the street from the Alabama Capitol and near the building where the telegram was sent at the start of the Civil War ordering Confederate troops to begin bombing Fort Sumter off the South Carolina coast.

"This is where slaves were bought, sold, and traded. This is where the Confederacy happened. This is where the bank that funded the Civil War. This is where our people and those black lives really mattered because it built this city. So why not have it right here for the world to see it," Browder told WSFA.

WSFA reported that the city signed off on the project for the Juneteenth commemoration.

A similar mural was painted on a street in downtown Birmingham.

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed issued a proclamation celebrating Juneteenth and asking Gov. Kay Ivey to make it an official holiday, The Advertiser reported. Alabama has three state holidays honoring the Confederacy.

"We must embrace Alabama's full legacy. Montgomery ... stands as tangible testament to the uncommon courage and tenacity of Civil Rights foot soldiers. However, their journey to freedom began in chains and in tunnels on our cities' main streets," Reed said in a statement.

"Juneteenth allows us to commemorate the symbolic and historical end of slavery while reflecting on the long road to racial reconciliation in America."

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