Donna Lynne is the current Lieutenant Governor of Colorado. If you are a regular reader of Colorado Pols, you might already know this, but it’s important that we start here because even political junkies tend to forget that Colorado even has a Lieutenant Governor.
Lynne is a former executive vice president of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals who was nominated in March 2016 by Gov. John Hickenlooper following the departure of Joe Garcia. The Lieutenant Governor (LG) plays an important role in Colorado’s chain of command as the person who would step in should anything happen to the Governor…but aside from that duty, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who knows what the Lite Gov. actually does on a day-to-day basis. That isn’t a knock on Lynne or Garcia or anyone else who has held the LG job — it’s just a quirk of Colorado’s Constitution.
When Garcia resigned in November 2015 to take a job with a nonprofit education organization, there was some minor speculation about potential successors, but Hick ultimately settled on Lynne — a political outsider — to take the office across the hall. At the time, both Hickenlooper and Lynne made it a point to note that this was absolutely not a stepping stone to higher office for Lynne. This headline from the Denver Post is pretty unambiguous: “Colorado’s Lieutenant Governor nominee won’t seek higher office.”
We haven’t mentioned Lynne as a potential candidate for Governor in this space in part because of that declaration, but also because we hear very little buzz about Lynne in general. The Denver Post, however, can’t seem to stop talking about Lynne as a potential gubernatorial candidate. Check out this headline from the Post today that was blasted out as a “Breaking News” email: “As door closes on Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s run for governor, will it widen for Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne?”
The Post has included Lynne’s name as a potential gubernatorial candidate for months now, and we apparently aren’t the only folks around town wondering where this is coming from. As Mike Littwin writes for the Colorado Independent:
And then there’s the strange case of Donna Lynne, John Hickenlooper’s hand-picked lieutenant governor, who was nominated, in large part, because she was seen as apolitical and Hickenlooper would not be seen as giving anyone a leg up in the race to succeed him.
Well, you can forget all that. The rumor has been out there for a while that Hickenlooper had been pushing Lynne to get into the race. And Lynne now freely admits that she’s looking strongly at the race, which almost certainly means she’s getting in.
Lynne has been mentioned here and there by other news outlets as a potential gubernatorial candidate, but no other media source regularly includes her name in its list of candidates. We’re not knocking Lynne here — it’s just difficult to understand where this “Lynne for Governor” stuff is coming from. Lynne might very well be a fine candidate for governor, but if she were to actually enter the race, she’d be behind at least three other Democrats in our book (Jared Polis, Mike Johnston, and Cary Kennedy).