Former Colorado Senate President Joan Fitzgerald, who is in the midst of a contentious primary race for the Democratic nomination for Mark Udall’s congressional seat, has picked up a big endorsement: that of gay activists.

What some will find interesting about the endorsement is that her chief opponent, Jared Polis, is gay while she is not.

The reason for their endorsement: Her solid legislative record supporting gay rights.

Polis is not without his backers:

Polis has been endorsed by the National Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., who is openly gay. He pointed out that he also has been endorsed by members of Emily’s List, who traditionally back women candidates. His supporters include former Denver Congresswoman Pat Schroeder and former U.S. Senate candidate Josie Heath, of Boulder.

Who says that gays have to vote for gays? Polis makes the point:

“No one should support a candidate just because they are gay, just as no one should support a candidate just because they are women,” Polis said.

One other note — the article says:

Pundits predict the race will be one of the costliest and ugliest primaries in the nation in 2008.

I can see the “costliest” part but I don’t know that either of these candidates will get really “ugly” about the other. It just doesn’t appear to be their style. In the presidential race, the media has been quick to portray every attempt at contrast as negative campaigning. I hope that doesn’t happen here. I want to hear the candidates distinguish their position on issues in their own words before the primary. If they are too afraid to speak their mind for fear of being branded “negative,” don’t we lose an important tool to judge how hard they will fight their real opponents if elected?