Flamboyant DaVita Inc. CEO Kent Thiry announced on Monday that he would not join Colorado’s crowded race for governor — ending months of speculation about his political ambitions.
Instead, Thiry said in a statement that he would focus on other pursuits, such as supporting “centrist candidates” and “common sense causes” in next year’s election, though he did not elaborate on whom or what. [Pols emphasis]
Thiry may have decided not to make a run at statewide office in 2018, but he certainly seems to have mastered the kind of political gibberish that would make Sen. Cory Gardner proud. In fact, you can probably point to this platitudinal nonsense as a big reason why Thiry isn’t running for Governor; he didn’t have a particularly good reason to want to be Governor other than to perhaps find out if he could.
Thiry spent at least $2.5 million in 2016 to successfully advance two ballot measures that make it easier for Unaffiliated voters to participate in partisan primaries. Late in the 2017 legislative session, Thiry leaned heavily on lawmakers — and Secretary of State Wayne Williams — to implement those measures in a very specific manner, which further fed speculation that Thiry somehow believed he could use the new process to advance his own political fortunes in 2018. It is not clear that allowing Unaffiliated voters to participate in a Republican Primary would have given Thiry a significant advantage in 2018, but political consultants who stood to make a lot of money on his campaign seem to have had him convinced. Again, from the Post:
He also changed his registration from independent to Republican in March and booked the political firm EIS Solutions to give him advice.
“Kent had a unique path in the race — social moderates, independents, fiscal conservatives and disaffected voters who are just tired of it all,” said Kate Roberts, one of Thiry’s advisers at EIS Solutions, in a statement. “Those are still his voters [Pols emphasis], and Kent is still deeply committed to pursuing real change on their behalf.”
If Thiry had run for Governor, “his voters” would have also heard a lot about some very questionable business practices related to DaVita, the Denver-based company where he serves as CEO and swordfighter-in-chief. Thiry and the rest of the leadership team at DaVita were no doubt seriously concerned about those storylines being endlessly repeated in television commercials.
Thiry’s “path” to becoming Governor was to be the wealthy businessman — which isn’t particularly useful in a Republican field for Governor that already has two wealthy businessmen in the mix (Victor Mitchell and Mitt Romney’s Nephew), and another one on the way (Walker Stapleton).