Progressive candidate Levi Tillemann met with Congressman Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House of Representatives, to make the case that the party should stay neutral in the Colorado primary and that he had a more plausible path to victory than the same centrism that the Republican incumbent had already beaten repeatedly. Hoyer, however, had his own message he wanted to convey: Tillemann should drop out. In a frank and wide-ranging conversation, Hoyer laid down the law for Tillemann. The decision, Tillemann was told, had been made long ago. It wasn’t personal, Hoyer insisted, and there was nothing uniquely unfair being done to Tillemann, he explained: This is how the party does it everywhere. Tillemann had heard the argument before from D.C. insiders and local Democratic bigwigs, all of whom had discouraged him from challenging the establishment favorite. The only difference was that for this conversation, the candidate had his phone set to record.
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