The dominoes continue to fall in the wake of Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s surprise retirement announcement earlier this month — and they keep falling in favor of State Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood).
As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:
Jefferson County Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper has decided against running for the Colorado congressional seat held by retiring Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter. Instead, the Lakewood Democrat plans to stick with her bid for re-election, she told Colorado Politics.
Dahlkemper, a former member of the Jefferson County school board, said last week that she was considering joining the Democratic primary after Perlmutter’s surprise announcement on Jan. 10 that he wouldn’t seek a ninth term representing the Jefferson County-based 7th Congressional District.
“I’m lov[ing] serving as a county commissioner and working on issues that matter in Jefferson County — reducing wildfire risk, expanding open space and trails, helping small businesses and struggling families navigate COVID recovery and more,” Dahlkemper said in an email. “My focus is on re-election this November. Even though I’ve won two countywide elections in Jeffco, I’m not taking anything for granted this November.”
Dahlkemper’s decision to stay out of the Democratic Primary in CO-07 is significant news. Dahlkemper is the wife of former state lawmaker Mike Feeley, who famously lost the first race for CO-07 in 2002 to Republican Bob Beauprez by a mere 121 votes; she has built up a solid political career of her own after serving on the Jefferson County School Board and winning a seat on the Jeffco Board of County Commissioners in 2018.
Pettersen shot out of the gates quickly in CO-07, officially announcing her candidacy one day after Perlmutter’s retirement news broke. Her campaign promptly rolled out a massive list of major Democratic endorsements, followed by an announcement that she had banked $200,000 within five days of launching.
.@pettersen4co locking down pretty much every Dem endorsement in CO within 3 days of announcing for CD7 is a great example of a party deciding before a primary. None of this prevents someone from challenging her, but no one with any stake in the party would try. #copolitics pic.twitter.com/s7F4CBQeJD
— Seth Masket (@smotus) January 14, 2022
Pettersen may yet face a Primary challenge in June, but it would be tough for any Democrat to catch up to her now. State Rep. Brianna Titone (D-Arvada) has talked about running but doesn’t have the same campaign infrastructure in place. We’ve heard whisper of a few other potential names on the Democratic side, though nothing concrete. Anybody still pondering a decision had better move quickly with precinct caucuses beginning in early March.
On the Republican side, Laurel Imer and Erik Aadland have been in the race since 2021. State Rep. Colin Larson (R-Littleton) said last week that he planned to make a decision on a potential campaign by the end of this week; according to Luning, Larson is still thinking it through and now says he’ll have something to say “next week.”