Republican Rep. Jim “Colorado’s Dumbest Legislator” Welker surprised assemby-goers in Larimer County on Saturday by announcing that he would not run for re-election, but the move did not shock many GOP Party leaders, some of whom has been asking him to step aside for some time. As the Rocky Mountain News reports, the pressure on Welker had been mounting:
Rep. Jim Welker’s announcement this weekend that he won’t seek re-election came as no surprise to many of his fellow Republican lawmakers. For weeks, they have been pulling the Loveland lawmaker aside to quietly discuss his controversial gaffes and how they would play into a campaign should he decide to run again.
House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, met with Welker a number of times. Republican Gov. Bill Owens also talked to Welker. So did other Republican lawmakers, who reminded him the party was going to have spend a lot of money to defend a seat that traditionally is a shoo-in for the GOP.
“He knew the situation he was in,” May said Sunday. “Jim did not want us to lose that seat. And he knew the likelihood that the other side was going to spend a lot of money pummeling him, and who wants to go through that?”
Welker could not be reached for comment Sunday…
…May said the governor contacted him and asked whether he should speak to Welker about the party’s concerns. May said he told Owens to go ahead. “Nobody told Jim not to run, but Republicans laid out the situation,” May said. “We were all concerned.”
Former state Sen. Norma Anderson, R-Lakewood, said Sunday she’s not surprised Owens intervened. “Bill Owens is conservative, but he’s not a nut,” she said. “The governor knew that if Welker stayed in the race, Democrats could say, ‘See, look at what kind of Republicans we have in this state. Look at Jim Welker.’ Welker did the right thing by agreeing not to run.”
Welker’s decision not to run for re-election may make Democrats happy in the short-term, but from a strategic perspective this is a big advantage for Republicans. Welker was more than beatable after everything he had done and said, despite his conservative district, but a Republican candidate with a?clean slate should now be the frontrunner in November.