Bob Rankin: No “Boob Grabber,” But Will He Appease The Right?

Rep. Bob Rankin (R), sitting on a fence.

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports on the selection yesterday of Rep. Bob Rankin of Carbondale to replace Sen. Randy Baumgardner, who is resigning after a long controversy over Baumgardner’s serial sexual harassment of women at the Capitol:

Baumgardner’s resignation is effective Jan. 21. That’s when Rankin will be sworn in as his replacement. A new vacancy committee for his House district seat will be formed to replace him. Rankin said he expects to continue to serve on the Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee.

Baumgardner, who was re-elected to Senate District 8 in 2016 and had two more years to serve before being term limited, said he would “retire” from the Senate to spare his family from that controversy.

During last year’s session, the 63-year-old senator faced two investigations of suspected multiple incidents of sexually harassing women inside the state Capitol. Those investigations said there was substantial evidence to indicate that he was a “boob grabber” who repeatedly showed a propensity to sexually harass female staffers, including right outside the Senate chambers.

Bob Rankin has a reputation as one of the more level-headed Republicans serving in the Colorado House, befitting his service on the powerful Joint Budget Committee and providing a sorely-needed degree of professionalism in a frequently immoderate Republican caucus. We’ll never forget when Rankin took on the gun lobby by unsuccessfully proposing a public relations campaign to debunk the wild falsehoods about the state’s 2013 gun reforms–in marked contrast to most Republican lawmakers who were busy spreading those very same falsehoods. And yes, Rankin also voted to expel ex-Rep. Steve Lebsock from the House last year, further distinguishing himself from Baumgardner’s soiled legacy.

All told, Rankin’s appointment to Baumgardner’s SD-8 seat is a hopeful development for the Colorado Senate’s incoming GOP minority. Unfortunately for Rankin, it’s not likely to be the final word. Debra Irvine, a “Tea Party” activist from Summit County contested Rankin for the SD-8 appointment and is likely to run in the 2020 GOP primary for the seat. Irvine’s much more strident conservative platform and grassroots support could upend the primary against a less-exciting incumbent Sen. Rankin.

For today, though, we’re calling Rankin a win for adulting in the Colorado Senate.

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  1. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    "Adulting" in the Senate?  Isn't the.more accepted term "adultery?"devil

  2. gertie97 says:

    Rankin will be fine if there's a primary. Irvine is nutty even by tea party standards.

  3. DENependent says:

    I just now realized why Baumgardner went for the 21st. It was so that there can be another vacancy committee meeting for Rankin's seat sometime more than 10 days from now on or after the 13th so the dance is nice and orderly. Presumably the letter of resignation for Rankin will be going in now effective whatever day he is expected to actually be seated in the senate.

    • unnamed says:

      What do you mean?

      • DENependent says:

        The call for a vacancy committee cannot go out until someone has actually submitted a resignation letter. The committee cannot meet for 10 days after the call goes out. Two meetings, 20 days minimum instead of just 10 days.

        They probably could have got it done faster, but they were sensible and left some slack for snowstorms and getting things properly filed with the SoS office. Plus they probably did not want to have meetings until after the holiday season.

        • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

          Yep. That's doing it right. I suppose the Repubs do things a bit differently, on principle, but my wife sat on (and chaired) the Denver Dems Rules committee for several years, so I know how it's supposed to go.

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      I think it more likely that Randy will get some additional PERA benefits

  4. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Bob Rankin has been working on a Gallagher fix (more like a tweak). He is known for working in a bipartisan way.

    Psuedo 'splained how Rankin's proposed fix would work in a post about a week or so ago.

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