By Shaun Boyd

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– Some rap artists are getting behind a Republican congressional candidate from Colorado. Mark Barrington says they’ve connected on criminal justice reform.

“I’ve known a lot of people that have done something wrong and have payed their dues, but when they get out of the system, no one wants to give them an opportunity.”

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(credit: CBS)

Grammy award winning DJ Swiff of the band Outkast among those endorsing Barrington along with local artists Da Rado and Doobie Newton.

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(credit: CBS)

Da Rado and Newton says it’s not about party – they’re both unaffiliated – rather policy.

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“Criminal justice is a big thing especially to some of the rap community and my life in general. People make mistakes and when they get out, they should be able to live like we all do,” says Da Rado.

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Rappers and Republicans, they admit, may not be a natural fit, but in a polarized political climate, they have found common ground.

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Mark Barrington (credit: CBS)

“With my voice and my following that I have, they’ll start to listen to me. And so in a different demographic I can reach them that mark can’t reach,” says Newton.

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Barrington’s criminal justice reforms are not just appealing to rap artists. He is also endorsed by the Aurora, Denver and Lakewood police unions.

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“Unions and rappers. If we can bring these people together, we can bring Washington together.”

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Barrington is challenging Democratic incumbent Rep. Ed Perlmutter in the 7th Congressional District in November.

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Rep. Ed Perlmutter (credit: CBS)

Shaun Boyd is CBS4’s political specialist. She’s a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

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