Massachusett's Sen. Elizabeth Warren's announcement that she's forming a presidential campaign committee was met with withering criticism from Republicans and some expected silence from Colorado Democrats who are looking at running themselves.

Warren is the first major Democratic contender to announce a presidential run, which gives her a front-runner status in a field that is expected to be large and could well include both Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

Each is considering running. Hickenlooper has traveled to major primary states like New Hampshire to shake hands and introduce himself, as well as organized a fund-raising committee.

Bennet has said in numerous interviews that he's "thinking" about running but doesn't elaborate.

Which may explain why both were silent  Monday on Warren getting in the race.

Warren just won re-election to her Senate seat in November but has been the target of GOP ridicule for claiming to be a Native American when a recent genetics test showed only a tiny portion.

President Donald Trump sarcastically refers to her as "Pocahontas."

"Senator Warren couldn't be more out of touch," GOP National Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Monday. "With her lack of support from voters — including in her home state — on top of her phony claim to minority status, show that she is formally running, Americans will see her for what she is: another extreme far-left obstructionist and a total fraud."

Warren, a former Harvard Law School professor, has shrugged off Republican scorn. She's been an outspoken critic of Wall Street, the lack of regulation on major banks and corporations, before and after the 2007 economic recession. Her interrogations of corporate executives in front of the Senate Banking Committee brought her a popular following that urged her to run for the White House in 2016.

"Right now, Washington works great for the wealthy and the well-connected," Warren told reporters Monday. "It's just not working for much of anyone else."

Pueblo County Democratic Chairman Mary Beth Corsentino said she likes Warren's views— but still has doubts about whether the Massachusetts senator is the right Democrat to lead the party in 2020. The crowd of possible candidates for that role seems to be growing.

"She's passionate about the things she cares about," Corsentino said. "But I'm not sure she can attract the unaffiliated voter."

Corsentino said the most recent analysis of the Democratic surge in the November election came from moderate Democrats.

"I'm not sure she is the candidate for 2020," she said.

Marla Reichert, chairwoman of the county Republican Party, joined with national GOP officials in calling the  Massachusetts senator an "extremist."

"Warren is a prime example of the Democrat's quest to control and regulate every aspect of our lives," she said in a text comment Tuesday. "I think people will choose freedom and reject Warren."

With the first presidential election caucuses more than a year away, Warren's announcement may seem startlingly early.

But with a crowd of Democratic contenders expected, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke, being the first in the pool may also be a head start.

proper@chieftain.com