Former Interior Secretary Dave Bernhardt has endorsed Gino Campana for the Republican nomination to take on Democrat U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.

Bernhardt made the announcement Friday in a statement to Colorado Politics:

“Gino is the embodiment of the American Dream, a Trump appointee, an entrepreneur, and someone who knows what it takes to fight – he’ll go toe-to-toe with President Biden and fight for the state we love. It’s time to replace Michael Bennet, and Gino Campana is the man to do it.”

Bernhardt is a native of Rifle, a Trump appointee and the driving force for relocating the Bureau of Land Management to Grand Junction.

It’s a significant endorsement, and somewhat ironic considering Bennet isn’t lifting a finger to stop the Biden administration from moving the western land agency back inside the Beltway.

“As a Coloradan who grew up on the Western Slope, I know it is critical to have a senator in Washington fighting to put Colorado’s public lands and water first and that person is Gino Campana,” Bernhardt told Colorado Politics in a written statement.

Campana says Bennet is just a rubber stamp for the Biden administration’s Washington-first, Colorado-last mentality. 

“I’ll fight for Colorado’s public lands, champion economic growth and be a check on Biden’s out-of-control spending that has led to record inflation, hurting hardworking Colorado families,” Campana said.

Bernhardt served as Interior Secretary throughout Trump’s term, and now works for Denver-based Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. 

The endorsement will certainly help Campana’s candidacy stand out in a crowded field of contenders for the GOP nomination, that now included Joe O’Dea, Eli Bremer, Erik Aadland, Deborah Flora, Peter Yu, Juli Henry and state Rep. Ron Hanks.