Stephanie Villafuerte has withdrawn her name from consideration to become Colorado’s next U.S. Attorney.
In a letter to President Barack Obama, who nominated her for the post, and Attorney General Eric Holder, Villafuerte said she was confident she would have “served well in this important position” but was withdrawing because of “political attacks” surrounding her role in the 2006 Colorado gubernatorial campaign.
“Unforunately, a needless and extraneous political fight has emerged in Colorado and that fight, in my judgment has completely overshadowed the deliberative and independent assessment of my qualifications for this important office,” Villafuerte wrote. “I continue to stand by my statements and maintain that my involvement was appropriate at all times.”
…U.S. Sen. Mark Udall said he was disappointed by Villafuerte’s “very personal” decision.
“I had a positive conversation with Senator Jeff Sessions, the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Saturday morning in which we both agreed that the confirmation process for this office could, and should, be framed to resolve any remaining questions he or other Members of the Judiciary Committee might want to put to the U.S. Attorney nominee,” Udall said in a statement released by his office.
The real “needless” political fight in our minds
could should have been avoided altogether had Sens. Udall and Bennet just picked one of the other three finalists to begin with.
We’re not at all surprised that Villafuerte has withdrawn her name from consideration, but we’re still mystified as to why she made it this far in the process to begin with. Surely Bill Ritter’s office had to know that Villafuerte’s nomination would bring with it a slew of bad press as long as she was yet to be confirmed. The Villafuerte nomination gave Dick Wadhams and Republicans an endless way to continue to attack Ritter with frontpage stories, and we weren’t the only ones who could see these attacks coming the moment her name was announced as the nominee. Fair or not, you knew it was going to happen, and whoever thought they could just slide Villafuerte on through without the GOP using her to batter Ritter was more than a little naive.
Pueblo DA Bill Thiebaut may be next in line according to Crummy and sources we’ve talked to, with John Walsh the other potential name to watch. But as a commenter points out below, Walsh makes more sense because he isn’t a current officeholder; if Thiebaut gets the nomination, Ritter would have to appoint his replacement, which adds an unnecessary layer to a process that has already been politically costly to his re-election. If Thiebaut is the nominee, then there will be more stories about his replacement that will inevitably mention what happened with Villafuerte as background. Walsh is the quickest way to put this process to bed, and he’s more than qualified anyway.