It’s Official: Kerr vs. Summers for SD-22

The race to fill Jeffco’s Senate District 22 may be one of the most exciting campaigns of the 2012 cycle. It’ll certainly be the most interesting.

As covered this morning by Lynn Bartels of the Denver newspaper, State Representative Ken Summers fully intends to take on State Representative Andy Kerr in the race to fill the almost vacant SD-22.

Summers entrance into the Senate race comes as no surprise. He would’ve had to take on a sitting state representative for either the Senate seat or Max Tyler’s HD-23, and the numbers are that much more favorable for him in SD-22.

As it stands, the race between Summers and Kerr pits two influential Jeffco lawmakers against one another. Both are serving their third term in the House, and both have created far-reaching relationships through their respective leadership positions. Kerr was widely anticipated to become speaker, following his tenure as assistant majority leader, had Democrats kept the House, and Summers currently chairs the House Health and Environment Committee. In short, unlike the race between Robert Ramirez and Evie Hudak in SD-19, Kerr and Summers stand just about equal in stature as public servants: they have the same connections and breadth of experience.

Their similar resumes – and the fact that SD-22 is one of Colorado’s most competitive State Senate races in 2012 – should make for an enthralling campaign this cycle. Endorsements and money will likely pour into the race from both sides – Summers, for example, today announced an endorsement from Representative Jim Kerr, who once stood as a candidate for the SD-22 vacancy.

It’s going to be a tough fight. Andy Kerr, by all accounts, is widely recognized as both incredibly charismatic and a talented campaigner, as evidenced by his tenure as the number three member of the House and 2010 stewardship of the House Majority Project. In fact, Kerr’s become such a force in Jefferson County politics that his name is often tossed around as a likely candidate for Ed Perlmutter’s CD-7 seat, should it ever become vacant.

Summers, on the other hand, isn’t often recognized for any inherent charm. Although he’s certainly comfortable on the dais – he’s been a local pastor for years – he’s not as captivating as Kerr, a former school teacher. He’s a little too pastoral, in every sense of the word. Still, Summers will be retaining a good number of familiar precincts in the Senate district, and he’ll be much more at home in Ken Caryl than Kerr.

In short, the race between two incumbents for an incredibly competitive Senate seat should prove to be one of Jeffco’s most engaging in 2012. Further, the fact that the same seat will be up again in 2014 will ensure that whoever wins in 2012 is going to have to hit the ground running to retain their title but two years later.

(Cross-posted form Jeffco Pols)

4 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    It’ll be a fun race, but I think anyone who’s walked with Andy would agree that calling this one for Ken would be like calling a CD 7 race for anyone but Perlmutter.

  2. RegisteredRepublican says:

    This may be the only chance for the large number of Republican voters, in this area, to inflict some payback.  They lose Mike Coffman as their congressman in January of 2013 and pick up Jared Polis or Diana DeGette.  They see half of Mike Kopp’s old state Senate district (Tim Neville’s seat) being handed to the Dems — without an election — in January of 2013.  The other half is Ken Summers vs Andy “Lead Plaintiff to Overturn TABOR” Kerr.

    TABOR could be the very issue to doom Kerr in this election.  That, plus the fact that the Jeffco School District is going to lay off a couple hundred full-time classroom teachers, but keep Kerr employed even though he is gone half the year.    

    With the Lobato case decided as it was, TABOR is now — more than ever — popular with the state’s residents.  This particular election could very easily be framed as “Do you want the final say on your taxes being raised, or do you want Andy Kerr to?”  It won’t be hard, or inaccurate, to hammer this point every day until the election.  This will be a millstone around Kerr’s neck come November.

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