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January 06, 2010 05:25 PM UTC

Wednesday Ritter Withdrawal Open Thread

  • 304 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE #6: Rep. Ed Perlmutter tells 9NEWS he’ll support Salazar. That’s everybody, right?

UPDATE #5: At a press conference this afternoon, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper did not rule out a run for Governor, stating he would decide in the next few days. Hickenlooper indicated strongly that the forthcoming decision of Ken Salazar would directly affect his own, offering to ‘be Ken’s first volunteer’ should he choose to run.

UPDATE #4: Denver Post reports that Ken Salazar has secured White House approval to resign his post as Interior Secretary and run for Governor:

The White House would not object if Interior Secretary Ken Salazar chose to resign his cabinet post and run for Colorado governor, sources tell The Denver Post.

The White House’s stance on whether Salazar can leave the cabinet on good terms is a key variable in the race to replace Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter, who announced this morning that he would not seek re-election.

According to sources with knowledge of the conversations, Salazar was encouraged by the White House to remain in the administration, citing an agenda on climate change and retooling energy policy. But administration officials said they would support him if he felt it was in the best interests of the party and the state to return to Colorado.

UPDATE #3: All signs are pointing to Ken Salazar as the next Democratic candidate for Governor. We’re hearing that an official decision is all but done. Rep. John Salazar certainly wouldn’t have gone on the record urging his brother to run for Governor if he didn’t know what Ken was thinking, and there is more and more discussion that this is almost certainly going to happen.

UPDATE #2: The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder reports the White House favors Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to run for Governor of Colorado:

In Colorado, the White House was prepared for the retirement of governor Bill Ritter, even though Ritter had managed to keep his intentions a secret from almost everyone. And the White House even has a candidate in mind: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the former Colorado Senator, and a man who has long aspired to be Colorado’s governor.

UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Adam Schrager reporting Interior Secretary Ken Salazar likely to run, based on statements by his brother Rep. John Salazar.

Since there’s plenty more to come, no doubt.

Comments

304 thoughts on “Wednesday Ritter Withdrawal Open Thread

  1. 1.  Why on earth is he doing it?

    2.  Who is going to replace him on the Democratic side?

    I just hope it is not something that is truly health related, and that he is not running for re-election because he got sick of it, or something along those lines.  

    He’s a good man who has done a pretty good job in very trying circumstances, and I wish him all the best in the future.

    1. …and probably family-related. One of those life-things that suddenly melts down and has to be dealt with immediately.

      If it’s that, I give props to the Guv for taking care of what’s important (family) over politics.

      What sucks is that the Repub troglodytes will not hold back in hooting whatever sleazy rumor they can come up with to feed the Talk Radio base. Jeanie Ritter could have the Andromeda Strain and Boyles will probably claim that Bill gave it to her, because he’s a “cheater.”

      1. Even though I’m a partisan and I don’t like what he’s done as Governor, I like Ritter very much as a person and he has always struck me as such a good man.

        I’m honestly praying that it’s not standard idiot-politician reasoning for his decision.  It would be an enormous surprise to me.

    2. He’s not very good at politics.  By which I don’t mean he isn’t a good Governor – I think he is.  But he doesn’t seem to understand how his decisions will come across or how his supporters will react.  He doesn’t seem to have much of a talent for fund raising or rallying the base.

      If this is the case, Ritter would actually be a really good choice for an appointee, where he doesn’t have to run for office.

      1. …he doesn’t seem to understand how his decisions will come across or how his supporters will react…

        Members of the largest union in the state put forth a motion (i think it passed) to donate no funds to Ritter, after he vetoed HB1170 (which would have re-instated unemployment insurance for workers locked out by the company they work for). He also upset the firefighters, and others. I’ve heard union members volunteer that they will never again vote for Ritter, no matter who he’s running against.

        Organized labor may not alone hold the votes to make a great difference, but donations can play a significant role, and labor is capable of supplying an army of volunteers for its friends. That means precinct walking, phone banking, and more. This can be a very significant factor in close races.

  2. Here’s my guess in order of how strong they would be:

    1. Hickenlooper – He has an amazing political talent. But he also clearly loves being mayor so interesting question as to if he will run.
    2. John Salazar – I think he might even do better than Hick. Moderate Dem, well liked, and for the Hispanic voters – first Gov.
    3. Andrew Romanoff – He would get strong support from the base and is moderate so he can appeal across the spectrum. But unknown if he can win across the state.
    4. Cary Kennedy – Knows how to win statewide and was first on many lists for 4 years from now. Her biggest problem is she would give up a sure thing to compete in a primary and then a tough general.
    5. Ed Perlmutter – Extremely popular in our most evenly matched congressional district. Same issue as Cary – giving up a sure thing for two tough races.
    6. Morgan Carroll – Viewed as a top candidate in 4 years, still a little soon for her experience wise. However, 8 years from now is a little late. I think she would be unlikely to win the primary (but would rock in the general).

    What’s really interesting about the above list is they’re all quality candidates, they all can beat McInnis handily in the general, and they all would probably do a good job as Governor.

    1. It seems most people are throwing Ken Salazar’s name out there.  I hadn’t heard speculation about John.  I’d prefer Ken, myself.  I think he’s a better politician. ( in a good sense.)

    2. I won’t vote for her.  I also won’t vote for John Salazar.  I’m you’re swing voter.  A pro-choice former Republican, now an unaffiliate from Jefferson County.  I’d even vote for McInnis over Carroll and I don’t vote for Reublicans any more.  As for the rest, I would hold my nose and vote for Hick, even though he’s a dick.  I’d work hard for Perlmutter, but hope he will keep his house seat.  Romanoff I’d vote for, but his opportunism won’t sit well with voters.  There are many other possibilities.  Democarts, just don’t nominate another anti-choice Democrat.  Most of us swing voters and disgruntled Republicans are firmly pro-choice and have absolutely not one thing politically in common with an anti-choice Democart.

      1. Why your antipathy for Morgan?

        I agree the Dem candidate should be pro-choice, but I don’t think Gov. Ritter made it a big issue in his administration.

        1. She’s just a terrible legislator.  She jumps without looking at facts and passes legislation that is nothing but a hayday for attorneys and doesn’t help the people she says she wants to help one bit.  She’s a bitch and impossible to work with and has an ego that can’t get inside any normal three foot wide door.  And this one isn’t even personal.  Frankly, she’s just dumb.

            1. Dumb.  

              Her legislation shows that she is dumb, at least about legislating.  An example.  The tripe she passed Her bill didn’t solve any of the problems, made associations much more difficult to manage, covered numberous things that were already covered by existing law, was so poorly written that is caused more confusion than anything else and cost every homeowners’ association in the state (which means it cost every homeowner in a homeowners’ association in the state) thousands of dollars to comply with, all as I said, with absolutely no improvement in the situation she identified.  On this issue, she refused to listen to anyone who knew anything about these issues and was, from my personal experience quite rude and bitchy.  And just so you know, this is not the only subject and I am not the only person who feels this way.  If you’ll recall the polls here, she is constantly chosen as among the most admired and the least admired legislators.

        2. His Catholicism obviously has an influence on that, and I respect that.

          His position was known when he first ran for Gov. and that was definitely a concern among party activists. He assured them that even though he was personally opposed to abortion, he would do nothing in any official capacity to try to change current law (Roe v Wade, etc.)

          That assurance placated the party faithful.

          So its good to know there is no “litmus test” on this issue in the Dem party, unlike in the GOP.  

          1. That’s just tripe.  There are thousands of pro-choice Catholics around the country in public office who are personally opposed to abortion.  He did say he was in favor of overturning Roe v Wade, I heard him myself.

            But, that’s not the point.  The point is that these people who want to take policy positions on their religious beliefs just simply don’t understand the secular democracy that our founding fathers set up, and that to me is a litmus test that we should demand.  

            This is why I didn’t vote for Bill Ritter and why I won’t vote for John Salazar, for instance.  Their position on abortion says to me that they simply don’t understand the secular nature of our Constitutional democracy.

            1. Yes, Ritter is in favor of overturning Roe vs Wade, unlike Catholics such as Ken Salazar and John Kerry who say they oppose abortion as a personal matter but do not oppose a woman’s right to choose. But it is also true that Ritter assured supporters that he, as Governor, would not actively seek to take any action against abortion rights here in Colorado.  

              I remember that distinctly because that, combined with the fact that Governor is an executive, not legislative, position and our legislature was majority pro-choice Dem, is what allowed me to support Ritter.  

            2. I am a firm believer in secular democracy and an absolute separation of church and state.

              I’m pro choice, always have been, always will be. Ritter is not, but again he made it clear that was a personal position largely as a result of his faith. He made it clear it would have no impact on his governance and if in fact he personally opposed Roe v. Wade, it is the law and he would uphold the law (as he is bound by oath to do) and take no action to change it.

              So I think Ritter very clearly understands separation of church and state and the need for a secular democracy.  

    3. Another name that I think should be tossed in the mix is Secretary of State Bernie Buescher. Buescher is dem who is very well respected in the Western Slope having won Grand Junction citizen of the year in 2004 and went on to be GJ’s state rep. From 2005-2008 Buescher has won legislator of the year 8 times from 7 different organizations, oftentimes commending him for reaching across the aisle to get the job done. His non-partisanship has also been displayed as Secretary of State by his work with with Republican AG John Suthers. Not only do I think Buescher’s track record proves him worthy to be in the discussion but I also believe it strategically makes sense given the Republican opposition.  

  3. Having talked to a few people and thought about what this means it becomes obvious more than a simple change at the Gov level is going to happen.

    There will be huge cascade effects if Perlmutter goes for it because CD7 will need a candidate (Morgan Carroll?) If Romanoff goes for it there is are fewer slots affected but it does make for interesting campaigning talkers.

    Will someone rethink the AG race because of the possiblity of 2 name Dems running to create interest vs. 1 name and an non-competitive race.

    Who will be the Lt. Gov pick to thump the tub in the far reaches of our beautiful state?

    Lots to contemplate.

  4. If he says it’s for family reasons we all know there is a 95% chance he is lying.

    Most reasonable people don’t expect it to be something scandalous.

    It appears that he is abdicating because he might lose.  There’s certainly no honor in that.  

    If he thinks he’s been on the right side of the issues, if he thinks that he’s done what’s right for Colorado, if he thinks he’s been fighting the good fight… then quitting shouldn’t be an option.

    Winning and losing can be equally difficult.  The polls show him down but he had the advantage of incumbency and would have raised a ton of money.  It’s a long game and we’re still in the 1st half!

    Ironically, this may be the only politically savvy move Ritter has made yet.  But it’s savvy for the party, not him – as a person or a leader.

    I suppose I can’t get over what a transparent & cowardly move this is.  I think Dodd had legitimate baggage.  I don’t know why Dorgan retired but after 30+ years a guy probably gets to step down, legitimately, whenever he wants.

    But you should never quit because you may lose.  Even the Detroit Lions show up every Sunday…

    1. People do things for family reasons.  I left the chairmanship of the Republican Party in Jeffco for family reasons.  Rob Witwer left the House for family reasons.  That’s the problem with you political hacks, you don’t ever think anyone does things for family reasons.  You’re right, the reality is that most of today’s politicans don’t.  And frankly, that’s the problem with politics today.  Most people running for office see politics as a “career.”

      1. He is exactly the kind of guy who puts his family over his job.

        Maybe not everyday, every achiever neglects their family from time to time, but Ritter is a man who can recognize that its happening, understand that it is wrong, feel guilty about it and do something to improve the situation.

        Campaigning on top of governing is grueling, its 2 high stress jobs at the same time that demand 200% of your focus.  What happens when your kids are getting a little off the rails?  Do you just rely on your wife to carry the load?  Or do you reprioritize and say my family needs me and I’m the only person who can do that job, other people can be the governor.

        I have no idea what is happening, but I’m inclined to believe Ritter’s express reasons.

      2. When you decide to run and make a great effort to succeed, only to then change your mind – it’s hardly ever b/c of “family reasons.”  

        If the Governor’s mansion were really so hard on his family, he would have made this decision a while back, before he decided on the opposite.

        And he doesn’t have the excuse that he didn’t know how tough it was going to be on the trail.  He’s done it before.

        Furthermore, everything I’ve heard indicates that Ritter and his family actually liked the office, saw it as an opportunity to make a difference, and knew from experience what they were in for.

        I think Ritter is a nice guy.  But either he’s falling on someone else’s sword or he has made a cowardly decision – based more on polls than on principle.

        1. sometimes making the decision to remove yourself because it appears you are not going to be able to deliver as well as someone else is a very principled decision.

          If Ritter was looking at the polls and decided that he could not deliver on his agenda because he was going to lose whereas Hickenlooper (Perlmutter, Salazar) would have a better chance of defeating McInnis and seeing an agenda more closely aligned to his own through to fruition, then I’d say his withdrawl was a very principled decision.  Much like Senator Mark Dayton of Minnesota who stepped aside in 2006 so that he could be replaced by Amy Klobuchar.  Putting your agenda over youself is very principled.

  5. I couldn’t wait to get in my pajamas this morning to start blogging although the basement is a little cold today.

    What a great time to be a blogger in Colorado.

    It is time to limber up the fingers and start banging out improbable scenarios and far fetched reasons why someone wouldn’t want to go through the meatgrinder for another four years trying to manage the impossible.

    Woohoo!!!!

      1. I know what you mean–I zipped straight to the computer this a.m. and stayed on it way too late last night. This is the stuff we live for, isn’t it? 🙂

  6. I never went back on line in the latter part of the day yesterday so the headline this morning really shocked me.  Almost as much JR Smith coming through for the Nuggets in the final minutes after rookie Ty Lawson joined the long list of wounded in the fourth quarter.

    While leaving Interior after one year so shortly after leaving his first Senate term might give the GOP something to try to make hay out of, I can’t help but see Ken Salazar as a dream candidate.

    He’s a proven statewide winner twice over.

    Got lots of R votes as a Senate candidate. Perfect shade of purple for Colorado.

    Name rec equal or superior to any potential candidate in Colorado.

    Dems really need something to pump up enthusiasm and turn out in the upcoming off year elections. Who on earth could be better for Hispanic GOTV than Ken Salazar?  Money raising would be a snap.

    Hick would be a strong candidate and great fundraiser, too.  But Salazar could be Colorado’s Obama, not in terms of generating excitement with any glamour or rhetorical prowess, but in terms of firing up the minority (nice big minority) vote while also being popular with voters in general.

    As far as the whole quitter thing, the right can’t make too much of that post Palin and besides, Senators are commonly asked to leave to serve in a new president’s cabinet and cabinet membership often changes. Not really a big deal.

    Having worked GOTV in 2008, I can’t help but think about how great Salazar would be for GOTV in 2010.      

    1. I was looking forward to Salazar as governor in four years, after Ritter’s green economy was more established.  I’m not convinced that he will support it to the same extent.  Salazar strikes me as similar to Romer:  says the right things but is very conservative in his leadership, i.e., doesn’t try to do very much.

      I gladly admit that Salazar has done well at Interior, especially with the settling of the BIA lawsuit.

      1. Another plus for Salazar; executive experience heading a huge department.  

        Of course this would all depend on Salazar wanting to do it.  But in a tough election, with the established GOP candidate (nobody thinks it won’t be McInnis) out-polling the until now incumbent, Dems need a candidate  that represents a high percentage shot and I can’t imagine anyone who fits that bill better than Salazar.  Of the choices so far presented I have to say I think Romanoff presents a much lower percentage shot. I hope Salazar goes for it.

        1. in my mind that Ken Salazar is the dream candidate.  However, he still has a long political career and I see him wanting to create a legacy like Udall.

          1. And Governor being the most common stepping stone of the era to the presidency, far more common than Senator?  Don’t see how this would mean sacrificing the opportunity for legacy. If one of Salazar’s aides is reading this blog, please tell him from me to go for Governor!

  7. As someone who was very concerned about his candidacy four years ago, I have been pleasantly surprised by Gov. Ritter.  Not having followed all of the Front Range disagreements over the years, I’m sure I’ve missed some things but on the whole I have been happy with his time as governor.  The one thing that has disappointed me has been his attitude toward unions.  I don’t understand why he has consistently decided against pro-union positions over his term.  Besides the union issues, he seems to have gotten on with governing and done little in the way of grandstanding or partisanship, which I appreciate.

    I’m sorry he’s not running again.

    1. The one thing that has disappointed me has been his attitude toward unions.  I don’t understand why he has consistently decided against pro-union positions over his term.

      Ritter’s organized labor legacy, in my opinion, is not so much an anti-union legacy, as a dedication to pervasive union weakness. He has supported the concept of working people joining unions that are unable to strike to enforce their members’ wage, hour, and working conditions needs/demands.

      One example is government workers with a limited legal right to strike.

      Another example: at least in part because of Ritter’s veto of HB1170, King Soopers is now able to hire workers at permanent minimum wage. These new workers will NEVER get a raise, unless they get a promotion into a different position. These will be union workers who will take home considerably less pay than equivalent workers at (non-unionized) McDonalds or Taco Bell. To a union supporter like me, that is a devastating state of affairs.

      Ritter’s veto enabled and encouraged a strident campaign by King Soopers corporate to threaten and menace their workforce with demands to sign a bad contract, backed up by the threat of a lockout in the event that Safeway workers went on strike. [Actually it was a carrot and stick campaign; they also offered a signing bonus — a gift certificate — as a bribe for the current workforce to sell out the future workforce…]

      Disclosure: i worked for the grocery workers during the King Soopers contract talks.

  8. I get an email from someone far away with the news.  I hope it wasn’t anything I said.

    Still, ignore the news for a few hours and the world goes crazy.  

    1. I haven’t even looked at my e-mail since noon yesterday.  Saw the headline in the Post and came straight to ColPols, feeling like an idiot for having missed all this until now! That’ll teach me.

  9. Whatever Governor Ritter’s reasons I wish him well.  

    I would hope those that kick over rocks (D & R) looking for nefarious reasons why or excuses for his withdrawal will at least respect his decision and get on with the election for governor in 2010.

  10. Those of us in the Gas Patch want to thank Gov. Ritter for his support and political sacrifices to increase protections from the impacts of natural gas drilling. We appreciate that Ritter’s decision to stand up for us had made him a special target of the oil-and-gas industry and their cohorts, the Republicans.

    It may take several years for more people to realize that Ritter was extremely bold for tackling the most powerful industry in the world in order to protect our other natural resources and the health and welfare of Colorado citizens. For this, he jeopardized his political future here in this state.

    Ritter’s efforts won’t be forgotten — we will sorely miss his leadership, but we will thank him everyday for giving us the tools to defend our homes, our health, our quality of life, and Colorado’s natural environment.

          1. Sure is…  He’ll stay on message – jobs, economy no matter the opponent.  Other than that it’s a bit early to guess what if any new strategy we’ll see – at least I hope so.  Quick draw changes tend to hit the barn and not the bulls-eye.  

    1. Because the reality is that they absolutely are not happy that Ritter isn’t running. Voters will be anti-incumbent in 2010, and without a Dem incumbent, McInnis lost his one major advantage.

      They are trying to spin that this is a matter of Ritter being afraid of McInnis, and it’s absolutely the right strategy. It’s not true, but it’s the right strategic approach.

  11. His campaign and the campaign of the Repubs in this state seem to be about attacking the job Ritter was doing.  He is actually going to have to stand for something now.  I bet Wadhams and Duffy are scrambling.  Wadhams only knows how to tear down and based on Duffy’s comment in the post, he seems to be in the same camp.  I think this presents a very real problem for McInnis.

    1. Heard a rumor that McInnis’ campaign manager left in late December and a new one took over. Can anyone confirm this?

      If so, why did he leave and what did he know and where did he go?

  12. Is it something we said?

    I attended an event for Ritter before Christmas and he received a series of tough questions from the Dem crowd, including me.  There were few applause lines and not a whole lot of love in the room.  (Unlike an energized crowd that met Michael Bennet earlier in the month.)  In fact, I never even donated to Ritter because I wasn’t happy with his general reluctance to pull back on the billions of tax exemptions we give to every conceivable special interest.  He’s a good guy, just not someone that I’d care to work hard for or donate to.

    I wonder if this frees Ritter to look more closely at removing unnecessary tax exemptions as a means to balance the budget? (You know, do the right thing rather than what’s politically correct?)

  13. Just my opinion, but I just don’t think he had his heart in it anymore. No doubt about it, he was facing a stiff challenge, and just don’t think he had the “fire in the belly” needed for that effort.

    Ritter and his wife served as missionaries, and I think he feels he could be doing something more satisfying, albeit with a much lower profile, than being Governor, a job he has obviously not thought what it would be.

    And who knows, maybe “family considerations” may have something to do with making more money. The Gov. job pays $ 90,000 a year, I’m sure he could be making more somewhere else. When Owens left office, I remember him saying something to the effect that it was time to start making some real money.

    But I guess there’s always the possibility of some “scandal” out there, God knows we’ve seen plenty of that lately.

    1. Look for Ritter to get a judicial appointment from Obama.

      I think the family considerations are real.  The political life has really taken a toll on Jeannie Ritter.  She has not been happy for some time.

        1. There is a reason, and it is not altruism, that  attorneys gladly leave $500,000+ jobs at big firms to accept $170,000 jobs as federal judges.  Being a federal court judge is very cushy, with guaranteed employment (unless you like titty bars), great pensions (as senior judges) and everyone kisses your ring.

  14. Denver Post reporting that’s what Ritter told his cabinet this morning:

    Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter told his cabinet this morning he is not seeking re-election in November because of his family, but he plans to serve out the rest of his term.

    “He said it has been a struggle between family life and political life and that he had to make a heartfelt decision,” said Rich Gonzales, the director of the Department of Personnel and Administration.

    Sources told the Post that on Tuesday evening, Ritter told other Democrats the job was taking a toll on his family and he could not be successful as a father and husband while running for governor. Ritter has one school-age child living with him and wife Jeannie in the Governor’s Residence. Three others are grown or in college but still nearby.

    http://www.denverpost.com/ci_1

  15. “Penry Throws the Long Ball — Will Not Seek Reelection And Goes All in on Effort to Elect McInnis and Other Republican Candidates” -Ricky “the Wag” Wagner

    “You don’t throw a Hail Mary unless you’re behind and desperate, and it looks like that’s what the Democrats have done” -Josh Penry

      1. shortly after noon that he will and that he’s waiting to let this day be about Ritter and all the good work he’s done.  I certainly hope it’s true.  Salazar is the best statewide candidate the Dems could possibly have.

        In fact , if Salazar does say yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ritter hadn’t received a promise from  Salazar before announcing that he won’t run again.  With a promise from Salazar, he would be able to feel that, not only was he not leaving his party in the lurch, but that he would be giving Dems a much better shot than we would have with Ritter himself.  Salazar running for Gov would be the best possible break for Colorado Dems and the worst case scenario for McInnis or any other GOP candidate.

    1. And he is a lawyer. He will be able to go to work as a lawyer. Maybe there really isn’t a scandal. Maybe he just decided he didn’t like the job. It’s not for everyone.

  16. He looks relieved and quite honestly, that’s the happiest I’ve seen him in awhile. Just goes to prove that some people really do walk away from the political scene to spend more time with their families.

    Good for him for putting what really matters first.  

  17. Is it possible that Ritter looked at the state of Colorado’s budget and made the decision that the tough choices needed couldn’t be made while running for re-election?

    Anyone who sees the budget problems knows that the answers are not popular.  

    Maybe I am being a little too optimistic…

        1. Ritter, of all pols, gives us no reason to believe he is anything but above board and honest.  He may not be divulging the exact nature or all the details of the family considerations involved but, in general, I’m strongly inclined to believe that he is declining to run again for the reasons he states and that it is what he believes to be the right decision for himself and his family.  

    1. By not running for re-election, I’ll be able to make the tough and unpopular decisions that simply need to get made — free and clear of the sometimes bitter partisan politics of an election year.

  18. The Governor looked terrible the past few months.  He has gained at least 30 lbs and his skin is sallow.It was time for him to find a less stressful job and one that he could handle.

    As for who will be the Democratic nominee. Forget about it. Mayor John Hickenlooper will announce by Saturday.

  19. Here’s what he said, just released by governor’s office:

    “Good morning. Almost five years ago, in the spring of 2005, I began running for governor of Colorado. My campaign theme – the Colorado Promise – was a deeply held belief that we as a state were not living up to our full potential.

    “So we laid out a vision to create a New Energy Economy, to build up other Industries of the Future like aerospace and the biosciences, to reform our education and healthcare systems, and to modernize our transportation system.

    “Today, even in the face of the worst recession since the Great Depression, that vision is becoming a reality. We are leading Colorado forward. People all across Colorado are fulfilling the Colorado Promise, and Colorado is on the road to recovery.

    “It is my privilege and my honor to serve as governor of the greatest state in America, and it is my privilege and honor to serve with the greatest lieutenant governor, Barbara O’Brien.

    “Over the past years, but particularly over this last year, I have attempted to balance many roles in my life. I have been the governor, I have been a candidate for re-election, and I have also been a husband and a father.

    “I am proud of my work as governor. I am proud of the direction we are taking this state. I am proud of everyone who works in this administration. I am proud of my campaign, of the staff we have built, and of our re-election efforts.

    “It is my family who has sacrificed the most, my wife, Jeannie, my kids, three of whom are here today. I have not found the proper balance where my family is concerned, and I have not made them the priority they should be. So today I’m announcing that I’m ending one of my roles. I am no longer a candidate for re-election this November.

    “This will allow me to concentrate on the things that are most important – taking care of my family, and taking care of Colorado.

    “I’m 53 years old. I have been in the public sector or public service for most of the past 30 years. I was a prosecutor right out of law school. Jeannie and I spent three years in Zambia, Africa as Catholic missionaries. I was the elected District Attorney of Denver for 12 years, and I’ve been governor for the past three years.

    “But I still have one son in college and two children living at home, and they need me. And so does Jeannie.

    “While this decision allows me to make my family a priority, it also allows me to focus on keeping the state budget balanced and keeping Colorado on the road to recovery.

    “The Colorado economy is getting better, but we still have budget-cutting to do on the 09-10 and 10-11 budgets, and we’ll be submitting the 11-12 budget in November. By not running for re-election, I’ll be able to make the tough and unpopular decisions that simply need to get made – free and clear of the sometimes bitter partisan politics of an election year.

    “We’re positioning Colorado for a strong recovery with our New Energy Economy, our job-creation strategies and our education reforms. The rest of the country is looking to Colorado on everything from the economy to energy to education.

    “We’re in a great position, and we’re on the right path. I look forward to spending the next 12 months keeping our budget balanced and our economy growing. We still have a lot of very important work to do.”

    1. Why did he wait this long? If he had said he wouldn’t be running for re-election last year–maybe after the session was over–then it would have given whoever jumps in more time to raise money, and do the things it takes for a campaign to be successful.

      Instead, we have a mad dash for money, and scrambling to get a campaign organized.

      The explanation that I’ve seen that makes the most sense as to why he’s dropping out is to really do a good job on the budget without having to worry about that compromising the election, but that still doesn’t explain the timing.

  20. My family owes him a debt of gratitude that can never fully be repaid. Perhps I put a down payment on it the last few months.

    He has integrity and is a man of priniple.

        1. …Kiss Ass Ken backed Holy Joe in the general and worked against Democratic candidate Ned Lamont. Do a Nexis search, and you’ll see that Salazar viewed Lieberman as something of a role model. In the Senate Salazar was consciously shaping himself into a sagebrush Lieberman. You know that. We all do.

          1. What they had in common was being on the most conservative side of the Dem party on fiscal issues and being fellow members of the moderate contingent that worked together in the gang of 14. Don’t forget it was only a few presidential elections ago that Lieberman was the Dem VP choice. I seriously doubt that Salazar feels the same way about Lieberman (or Gonzales, for that matter) now as he did back in the day.

            Most leading Dems gave nothing but weak lip service to Lamont as a concession to his being the choice of the Dem primary electorate but failed to do anything for him because they saw Lieberman as the winner. At least Salazar made no bones about supporting his colleague. Not that I liked it.  

            But I balance that and other choices I opposed strongly against everything else, including making the redistricting of Colorado work for Dems by heading off a Texas style coup at the very dawn of the Dem take over of the majority of Colorado elected positions.

            And Gov isn’t a legislative position but an executive one, one of the reasons I was able to support anti-choice Ritter. If Salazar runs he will win, as he has always won, and he will be a good Governor with a Dem legislature to work with.

      1. And so the corporate core of the Colorado Democratic Party has wasted no time launching the shill-for-shill replacement campaign. Apparently they think that they will win the primary and a squeaker of a general by feeding us all an extra big does of Hopium. (You know, Hopium, the political narcotic that makes those who ingest it believe that soaring rhetoric, ethnicity, and personal purity of heart is just the same thing as progressive principle.

        1. …for Democrats who love working hard for a heavily compromised candidate and having nothing to show for it. I’m not feeling motivated to do anything for this sad bastard.

              1. There are plenty of indies and moderate Rs to make up for the loss of support from people like you. And GOTV in the Hispanic community will be stunning.  It will help every Dem on the ticket, including ones pure enough for you, if there are any.

                1. A Democrat hated by the psychco left has traditionally been unbeatable in Colorado, going back all the way to Big Ed Johnson.  Stargate’s tears are money in the bank for the Democratic party!

                  1. Now that’s a blast from the past……

                    But you’re right, as much as I hate to admit it since I’m no Salazar fan. And big Ed was a protege of Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson – they could be all things to all people, but most importantly, they knew how to count the votes.

                    Salazar won in 2004 in large part by picking up the counties in the San Luis Valley, counties that went for Bush and counties that would have gone to Coors had a front range “liberal” like Mike Miles been running. I was living in the Valley then, and Salazar would come down there and say how he was for the war, and against national health care reform.

                    Big Ed, LBJ, and the Salazar brothers know how to count the votes.  

                    1. in 2004. I really don’t. The war and the budget for it were the big issues and frankly, he pulled huge numbers up in my mountain community. Most Democrats are not hard core lefties (this ain’t Massachusetts) and he’s quite popular with the Dems that live in Colorado.  

                    2. and in a Q and A candidate Salazar was asked about national health care reform. He said we couldn’t afford it.

                      But he was generally supportive of the war, which has cost so far, let’s see, about a trillion dollars (and counting).

                      Ken Salazar knows how to count the votes. I know how to count the money.  

                    3. That was THE issue for me. I don’t remember health care even being brought up but maybe that’s because it wasn’t much of an issue here in Estes. The war in Iraq dominated the conversation here in 2004.

                      That said, I will support Salazar wholeheartedly if he runs for Governor and I think he will do a good job but frankly, he is not my first choice. I’d love to see Hickenloooper run–that would be a guy I could get enthusiastic about.

                      My other beef with Salazar was his unwavering support for both Joe Lieberman and Alberto Gonzalez. Both make me want to vomit every time I think of them so my emotional support for Salazar will always be tepid at best.

                      If I leave my heart out of the equation and look at this from a strictly political standpoint, I’m secretly thrilled because I think McInnis is about to get his ass kicked, we are about to keep a Dem in the governor’s seat and that means we have a leg up when it comes to redistricting.

                    4. for reasons so stated. But he wouldn’t be my first choice. And I’ll support him if he runs.

                      AR would be, but he’s currently busy tilting at windmills.

                      I like Bill Ritter, but one of the complaints I heard from a well known Dem Senator is that he is somewhat naive or simply unversed in the legislative process – he’s never been a legislator. AR would be my choice for that reason alone, a rather parochial one I admit (perhaps because of my degree in public administration), but one that is important to me for good legislation and good government.  

                    5. and always groused that Big Ed Johnson was “The best Republican in office” an office that included three two-year terms as gov. and two 6 year terms as U.S. Sen.  Given our current four-year terms as Gov. and a two-term limit on consecutive service, Big Ed’s record of winning the two big prizes a total of five times is unlikely to be equaled.  

          1. throw your pout and go home. And since you seem lost, let me give you some directions–Square State and it’s 3 active posters are to your left–to your faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar left.  

        2. Not virtually unbeatable – absolutely unbeatable. I’m surprised that Obama let him go and that he’s coming back so soon.

          So, Ritter for Secretary of the Interior? That would be a weird swap. (Not bad – but definitely weird.)

                  1. Getting a term limited gov out in 2010 could give his lt. gov. (if there is one, and if hes of the same party) a two-year head start in Montana.  Otherwise, my arithmetic comes out the same as Ralphie’s.

        3. A real bad day for Scooty.  DickWad and Scooty have to know their slim chance just got skinnier.  That is, unless they are listening to LB.

          “The “Progressive” movement is fucking finished.” -Laughing Boy

        1. When asked multiple times on a conference call today about oil and gas leases, the Secretary in essence said today was the governor’s day and that he valued his public service.  

  21. I love it!!

    However, Ken Salazar is not popular with the left wing of the Dem party so there is a potential for a nominal primary like there was when he ran for US Senate.

    Fortunately, that does not affect the planning for Caucuses (my only real role in the party anymore) so I am happy. If Romanoff would have switched gears to run for Gov, it would have affected the process, but the current plan does not.

      1. Not a major issue and we could deal with it, but slightly messy as the Dems have already voted to base delegate selection on the US Senate race. Don’t know what the GOP’s process for determining this is.

        The bigger mess would have been if there was no contested race in the Senate or Gov. races. Without any other statewide contested race in the works each county would have to use local races so there would a potential for lots of squabbles over which races to use.

  22. In Colorado, the White House was prepared for the retirement of governor Bill Ritter, even though Ritter had managed to keep his intentions a secret from almost everyone. And the White House even has a candidate in mind: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the former Colorado Senator, and a man who has long aspired to be Colorado’s governor.

    http://politics.theatlantic.co

      1. …how Salazar repeatedly sold us out in the Senate? I do. Why should I believe that he’s changed his ways? Face it, centrist pandering isn’t going to work this time. The Democratic wing of the Democratic Party can make or break this election by showing up or not showing up. It’s time to start sucking up, kiddo. At the moment I’m not feeling particularly motivated.

            1. When it comes to anything related to the Democratic Party, I can pretty much guarantee that if you’re pissed, I’m going to be happy.

              So, the more pissed you get, the happier I get, so please, carry on!

                1. You’re on a roll today stagarite! And here I was thinking we were pals… dang it.

                  Seriously though, I do respect your opinion even though I often disagree with it. Sorry if I came off as abusive. I didn’t see it that way. More joshing.

      1. …abuse your friends, then run on the basis of not being as bad as the other guy. For some strange reason, I’m just not feeling motivated and the Hopium isn’t working.

        1. most of us, even those who have disagreed with Salazar on various issues, don’t find him abusive and actually prefer 85% or 90% of something to 100% of nothing, which is what you’d get in a statewide election here with a candidate pure enough for the likes of you.  Unlike you, we do not think insisting on blue purity in a candidate for a purple state is more important than saving our state from Scott McInnis or anyone like him.

  23. He’s the only candidate in either of the major statewide races who has won a statewide election–and not just once, but twice, and for two different offices.

    No other candidate in this race, or the Senate race, can boast the kinda of electoral success he has in his past.

    The far left might not be happy, but I for one can’t wait to slap my Ken Salazar for Governor sticker on my bumper.

    1. …but notice the long term negative consequences for the Labour party. In the Senate Salazar was a Bush collaborator. It’s astonishing how short people’s memories are.  

      1. The Labour Party is still in power…

        Face it Stag, no candidate who meets your litmus test could win statewide this year. It would be virtually impossible.

        So, as my grandma says, kwitcherbellyachin.

        1. Inform yourself about UK politics before popping off. Blairism has done serious damage to Labour and everybody involved expects major losses once Brown calls an election.

          And, of course, you commit the Straw Man fallacy. My viceral, well-founded disgust with Salazar doesn’t translate into “no candidate who meets your litmus test could win statewide this year.” You know better. One of the first things that goes with you functionaries is intellectual honesty.

          1. I understand that Salazar is too conservative for you, but of the likely candidates for governor who do you like, what is their route to victory and how do you handicap their odds.

    2. statewide three times for two different offices (2x AG; 1x US Senate)….and yes, he is the the strongest candidate and this is the office he’s wanted for years.

      I, too, will proudly display a Salazar for Governor sticker on my car.  He’ll win and hopefully we’ll be able to do the redistricting for the next election….I’d love to see Coffman and Lamborn in the same district!

    3. As long as it’s true that Salazar really is the one, we can’t lose and not only has Ritter not hurt us, he’s given a tremendous boost. It’s all good!

      1. Hickenlooper is holding a press conference at the Oxford. Sorry I do not have a clue how to stream it.  Hickenlooper said that he doesn’t know what he is going to do and will decide within the week.

  24. Sir;

    You looked a lot happier and less stressful than I have seen in quite a while. if 10 years from now your relationship with your wife & kids is strong and you haven’t had a heart attack – this was a really good decision.

    You’ve still got a year of governing ahead of you and that alone is a major job. Best wishes and please keep doing the stellar job you have up to date.

    Best wishes to you and your family.

    1. There is a whole lot of speculation going on without any legitimate sources. I’m not sure why the White House would want a Secretary to leave requiring a whole new confirmation process for Salazar’s replacement.

      These kind of rumors are invented to draw attention to publications like “The Atlantic” and “Colorado Pols”

    2. Out here in flyover country, we’re just supposed to be happy they know we exist.  But, yeah, I kind of think Obama works for us, not vice versa, and would prefer that they let us pick our own candidates.  

  25. There likely will not be any announcement today as to who will replace Ritter as the candidate for governor. It would be politically unwise to announce on a day when the media is focusing on the current governor. As a candidate you want all the media attention and so whoever runs will likely wait until tomorrow or whenever the media cycles onto something else.

    Any speculation at this point is simply that, speculation. Take it with a grain of salt. And Pols, I advise you not post anything deemed fact until you confirm it as such (i.e. Adam Schrager misquotes)

    1. I’m sure that pols didn’t intend to post something that was not factual.  It happens, and this is a blog for goodness sakes.  Let it go.  The mistake is probably very accurate.  It just might not be accurate at this very moment.

      1. Do you really think someone can make a decision to run for governor in less than a day? You have to make sure you can raise funds, gather volunteers, build a campaign structure, the list goes on.

  26. Just got this:

    DENVER, CO В­- WEDNESDAY, Jan. 6, 2010 – Mayor John Hickenlooper will be available to the media at 4 p.m. today, Jan. 6, 2010, at The Oxford Hotel, 1600 17th St., Denver.

    My guess is to say he’s not running – otherwise he would wait till tomorrow.

    1. The person most likely to be upset about all this is Diana DeGette.

      First, there is no love lost between her and Salazar, but worse, this leaves Hickenlooper with only one option electoral option after his next mayoral term:

      No senate seat to seek and no governor’s office.  

      That leaves only one possibility and that is the 1st Congressional district.

      1. You reported that Romanoff was holding a presser at 1PM to announce he’s not switching? What happened with that? Every rumor is being hung on today!

      2. Isn’t there still Secreatary positions open with the Obama Admin.?  Having said that I don’t think it will be for Interior.  DeGette is safe as long as she wants that seat.

  27. Statement from Perlmutter:

    “First of all I want to thank Governor Ritter for his service and leadership to our state.  I know this was a difficult decision for him, and as a father of three girls, I respect this very personal decision for him and his family.

    This is a nightmare for the Republican party. This decision is a game changer, and I believe Colorado Democrats have a deep bench of potential candidates who can win this race.  I am confident we will have a candidate who will present real solutions for Colorado instead of the Republicans who want to focus on the status quo by just saying no.  We will retain this seat and continue to move our state forward and ensure Colorado remains one of the best states to live in.

    I am honored to have my name mentioned as a potential candidate.  I love this state and I want to continue to serve my community and state and make it a great place to live for everybody.  It’s a premature decision to make at this time, but one I will carefully consider.”

  28. Gosh when will we get the release from Markey.  As much as most of the polsters always tout her as the “2nd Coming” I’m surprised you all aren’t floating her inept name.  Does this mean that you all think that she is not fit to serve as Governor?  Talk amongst yourselves I’m lauging too hard right now.  

              1. Good one.

                I question your premise.

                It’s about time.

                If you really think that, you’re ignoring all the evidence.

                Nice try, come back next time with some facts.

                Quaking in their boots, I’ll bet.

                Time to get a fresh bag of Cheetos.

                You’re welcome!

        1. that “stems” are not what most of us judge a candidate by.  But you are free to do maintenance on your reputation and tell us how that qualifies or disqualifies her from consideration.

          1. You tell me why the libs haven’t mentioned her as a candidate.  Stems aside of course.  Oh and again 2 birds with 1 stone I want Cheetos now too!

    1. Unlike Republicans, we Democrats have a bench that is quite deep in this state.  Markey is quite well qualified to serve as governor (moreso than any current Republican officeholder or any of the out-of-office re-treads your side parades before voters at election time), unfortunately for her, she is presently outclassed by several other Democrats–including K. Salazar, J. Salazar, Hickenlooper, Perlmutter, Kennedy, Romanoff, Udall and DeGette to name but a few.

      If Markey were a Republican, looking solely at experience and issue positions aside, she’d be a frontrunner for the nomination (provided your side could get over the woman as executive thingy).

    1. I’d register every possible permutation of my name with a position or election year: SmithforGovernor, SmithforPresident, Smith2010, Smith2012, Smith2014, etc. And both “.com” and “.org” variants, at least.

      At about $10/year per site, it just doesn’t make sense not to preregister – especially if you have a common name.

      And if you have an uncommon name, like Barack Obama, just register it and you’re good to go for the rest of your life.

      Otherwise you end up with http://www.tomtancredo.org.  

  29. Cara Kennedy.

    I believe, as several others do, that she wants to be, and has the support of many, the first woman Gov. If Salazar runs and wins he could run again in 2014 which also happens to be the year Kennedy, if she is re-elected, is term limited out of her current office. This would mean that, unless she runs for something else, she would be out of public life for four years beofe the Gov. seat became open.

    I understand there are several assupmption made here but never the less that is what political speculation is based on

    1. She’ll be ready to go in 2018. Her kids will be in college, she’ll still be young at less than 50 and she’ll have more chips than anyone else at table.

    2. Assuming she is re-elected treasurer, one option might be to run for lt. gov. in 2014, when Barbara O’Brien will be term limited (assuming she is re-nomninated, which is far from certain on a Salazar slate.  Or , or , or.

      Remember, Gail Schoettler served as treasurer, then lt. gov, before running for Gov.  Cary is young and has many options.  And, assuming Hick doesn’t run for gov and does run for re-election, he’ll be termed out in 2015.  Colorado has never had a woman gov but Denver has never had a woman mayor.  But it’s also possible that Salazar will serve just one term before running for Pope, or whatever the next step on his career ladder is!

        1. Of course, word is Ritter tried to nudge her out, possibly to offer the post to Romanoff.  Would Salazar offer the job to Romanoff to lure him out of a race against Bennet?  

          Or, or, or.  

          But Salazar is not the presumptive nominee until we hear from Hickszonner…

  30. Did I miss that? Did he hold one? If so, what for? If it was to announce he isn’t running for Governor, that seems like sort of a premature jump that kind of steals Ritter’s thunder today. maybe he wised up and canceled?

    1. a little after 2 pm:

        I have known Bill and Jeannie Ritter for more than 16 years, and I appreciate how much they and their children have sacrificed for the sake of our state. I join all Coloradans in thanking the Governor and his family for their selfless service — and in wishing them the very best in the years ahead.

    2. Not sure where this rumor began, but I don’t think that any press conference was scheduled by the Romanoff campaign, at least from my sources.  Didn’t see any releases or notices saying that there was a press conference from the AR campaign, so I’m chalking this up to someone taking a rumor or a speculation and accidently putting up as fact.

  31. I owe Sec. Salazar almost as large a favor as I owed Gov.Ritter. He’s frankly the best candidate that has demonstrated the ability to win in two ofices state wide. His integrity is impecable.

    If Romanoff would announce first, then I’d back him. It’s in  the interest to stop the rift between the progressive side of the party(though Romnoff is not a Progressive, he’s DLC) and the cenrist elements to unite

    behind a single candidate and work towards holding both the Governorship and the Senate seat.

    I suppose that I’ll wait and see what happens  

  32. I think Ken Salazar is in the perfect position as Interior Secretary.  He’s doing a great job there.

    Speaker Romanoff is ideally prepared to be Governor.  His enthusiastic supporters would now be able to work for an election that he can win.  

    Then, without a primary opponent, Senator Bennet can draw on the national Democratic money and staff resources to focus on the general election.

    I see Romanoff running for Governor as a win for all within the Democratic Party.

    1. Then I might be tempted to side with you, because I like Andrew.

      Running the State bureaucracy is a management challenge.  Help me decide that Romanoff is up to that challenge.

      By the way, you bring up the Senate race.  The Senate race has nothing to do with who replaces Ritter.

      1. He is still not ruling out the possibility of a Guv run.  But sounds like everyone is waiting on a decision from Ken before showing their cards.

      2. Romanoff has never run a competitive race before, nor one any larger than state house. And what we have seen so far has been really bad. I don’t think he’s a good bet to win a state-wide seat.

        Now as Lt.Gov he could be a great asset as he fires up the base.

      3. Compared to Scott McGinnis who was a police officer, a hospital “director”, and a lawyer. Not exactly a management guru.

        The Senate race is relevant because if Romanoff runs for Governor, then it gives a clear shot for Bennet.  (Did I really have to explain that to you?)

          1. Are you saying that in McInnis’s resumГ©, there is a time period where he actually was a dog catcher?

            I’ not sure it changes much- but that is huge.

          1. But, seriously, I continue to point out that the Romanoff “challenge” is tying the hands of the national Dems from putting their staff and money resources into the race.  We really need to get Romanoff out of this so Bennet can focus on the Repugs.

  33. He was just interviewed on Channel 4 and he gave a very gracious statement regarding Governor Ritter. He said that both he and his wife had called Ritter today and spoken with him and that he genuinely believes Ritter is stepping off because of his family. He said he understood and wasn’t totally surprised by the announcement, particularly since Ritter had just enjoyed some down time over the holidays and had a chance to be with his wife and children.  

    He had an opening a mile wide to take a cheap shot at Ritter and plug a talking point and he didn’t and I must say, “Good on you, sir.”

      1. Did Ben Franklin actually say that? If so, seems like he was into some kinky stuff, perhaps utilizing electricity, long before Fascinations.

        No prurient interest here, I just always enjoy learning more about my fellow Pennsylvanian.  

  34. After reading nearly 300 posts in this thread, my cerebrum neurons and dendrites feel like they are caught in a “Hofstadter-Moebius loop”.  Still, wasn’t HAL vindicated in 2010?

  35. He thinks Salazar would be a great candidate as well and he would support him if he ran. Appears the water is parting for the Interior Secretary should he be interested.

    1. I was never fond of Salazar in the Senate, but I’ve liked him as Sec. DoI and before when he was state AG.  I kind of wish he’d stay at Interior as I think that agency has a lot of trash that needs taking out.

      But I certainly don’t have anything against him running for Governor, and he’d be a major force against McInnis or any other potential GOP candidate.

        1. He has administrative experience between AG and DOI. So he’ll be able to effectively run the state.
        2. He’s Hispanic – after 130 years of white males as governor, it’s way past time to break that glass ceiling.
        3. He’s the best politician in the state. With Gov a slam-dunk and CD-4 looking really solid, we can put everything into Bennet.
        4. I like him. Some of his votes I wanted to strangle him over, but I like him.
        5. He represents this state. His background, his politics, his political instincts combine to make him Mr. Colorado.
        6. He’s a smart guy with a boatload of integrity. We need that in the present economic environment.

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