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February 16, 2006 09:00 AM UTC

Rep. Joel Hefley Will Retire

  • 72 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

Confirming talk that Colorado Pols first reported nearly one year ago, and which he angrily denied, Rep. Joel Hefley said today that he will retire from his seat in CD-5.

From the Rocky Mountain News’ M.E. Sprengelmeyer, who was the first with the story this afternoon:

Rep. Joel Hefley, the soft-spoken dean of Colorado’s congressional delegation, said Thursday he will not seek re-election in 2006.

The long-awaited retirement decision by Hefley, 70, sets up a succession scramble in Hefley’s Colorado Springs congressional district, considered the most conservative Republican bastion in the state.

Hefley, the longest-serving member of Colorado’s congressional delegation, had hinted since last year that he might retire at the end of this, his 10th term in Congress.

“It’s hard, there’s no question about it,” Hefley said in a phone interview about his decision. “On the other hand, it’s wonderful to make this decision when you’re not mad at anybody and you don’t feel pushed out and you still like it. It’s like John Elway quit when he probably had two or three good seasons he probably could have played.”

With the announcement, Hefley’s 5th District suddenly could have a lively GOP primary.

Comments

72 thoughts on “Rep. Joel Hefley Will Retire

  1. What’s the 4-1-1 on Anderson?  Don’t know anything about him.  What makes him the most (if he actually is) viable GOP candidate?  What’s his campaign like so far?  Mmmmmm GOP bloody primary.

  2. Since it’s obviously going to be a bloody GOP primary, I’d say that bodes pretty wall for Jay Fawcett, the only Dem running.  Seems this whole “fighting dems” thing is actually catching on and may prove a formidable theme in the ’06 mid-terms.  though Hackett’s out in OH, Winter in Tancredo’s dist. is also a “fighting dem”.  could make for an interesting tag team if their campaigns decide to do a lot of coordinated events.  could bring in some big guests from DC and elsewhere.

  3. This is the best thing that has happened to the CD5 in years!  John Anderson is clearly the front runner (POLS: line change should have Anderson with a bullet).  Crank will announce in the next few days — ho hum.  He quit his job at the Chamber to run but he still won’t win in the primary against Anderson. 

    So, PR….with or without butter?  ;o)

  4. Woo! About darn time he announced.

    I’m with ManoftheHour (nice name by the way), let’s see Lamborn run.  I don’t need to see any more of Mr. Anderson.  Let’s go Doug!

  5. I have lived in El Paso County for over 30 years.  I have never heard John Anderson classified as “crazy” — what is the basis for this?  His public service and the fact that he served two terms as sheriff (an elected position, in case you forgot) should clear up any thought that he is “crazy”.  Give me a break.  Doug Lamborn and Crank will split the vote.  I don’t see either one gaining the momentum that Anderson already has by having the nerve to come out ahead of the pack.

  6. Woo! About darn time he announced.

    I’m with ManoftheHour (nice name by the way), let’s see Lamborn run.  I don’t need to see any more of Mr. Anderson.  Let’s go Doug!

  7. Agreed Manhour and ManAction(neither of you are very original)  Doug Lamborn is my guy in a primary though.  Thanks for the years of service Joel.

  8. last time i checked, lockheed martin (thats a big name in the district for those who dont know) refused to support their own employee(anderson). regardless, itll be interesting to see who bothers with the western part of the district and whether or not they can win lake county, where support was sparse for hefley.

  9. In my misspent youth, PR, I popped popcorn in bacon grease, which is delicious.  Now, I settle for popping in Canola oil and putting Earth Balance (I think its called that) pseudo butter on.  It tastes ok and has no transfats.

  10. Last fall Hefley told Lamborn to shut up about running until Joel made a decision. He did and hardly a word has been said about it in public since. That should change here very soon.
    My money is on Lamborn.

  11. cctiger:  Lockheed is a defense contractor.  last time I checked, the have a HUGE interest in elected officials (just look at how much they have contributed to Hefley in the past).  Seems logical to me that Lockheed would not “take sides” until Hefley made a decision and/or wait for the primary.  Saying they don’t support him is not factual. 

    Phoenix Rising – I’ll take butter with a side order of Crestor.

  12. thats all fine and dandy, lets just not put all the eggs in anderson’s basket because a win is far from guaranteed for him.

    lather the evil butter on, life is short!

  13. Oh thank God!

    The suspense was killing me. Seriously, I could care less whether Hick ran or not, but this…

    With all due respect to the Dead Govs, the third hand word I’ve heard is that Lamborn will probably emerge within the next day or two with a campaign manager, a war chest and list of heavy hitting endorsements. Indeed, he may be the leading candidate as soon as he announces.

    I have heard Crank has been doing quite a bit of work behind the scenes as well. The word is that a bunch of the Crank people migrated to Anderson when it looked like Joel was saying put. So I seriously doubt how much longer Anderson can stay a viable candidate. Or, if he does remain, I would not be surprised to hear that Crank and Anderson split their votes at Assembly, leaving Lamborn the only one to make the ballot with the majority.

  14. Doug and Jeane are pretty clean cut… If they have skeletons in closets, they are in houses the Lamborn moved out of in their 20s. I’m not even sure they know how to cuss.

    Good people.

    I guess I kinda wrote off Haggard as doing a marketing stunt for his church. Unlike Crank and Lamborn, his support hasn’t leaked out of the district that I can tell.

  15. I was wondering more if Lamborn met the Haggard “stamp of approval” for supporting all the right issues with a voice that Haggard approved of.  That was Haggard’s condition for entering the race – that no-one else met his undisclosed criteria.

    I’m with you, I think it’s probably more a stunt than anything else.  But if he goes through with it, he’ll probably make a lot of noise, and that means criticism of the other candidates.

  16. Got it PR.

    Well I know that Lamborn does not shy away from being direct in his ethics or his language… Half the reason why so many are cheering this evening.

    Will he get behind Pastor Ted’s ethics and language? As long as they don’t clash with Colorado’s Christian Coalition… Sure, why not.

  17. Dear Colorado Pols after the news that Rep. Hefley announced retirement you have updated the chances on your CD-5 line and given Jay Fawcett(D) chances of 15-1. Now I am not saying that his chances are better then that in such a republican district but why do you seem to think that his chances are smaller when running for an open seat(I believe you previously had him at 10-1).

  18. Dear Colorado Pols after the news that Rep. Hefley announced retirement you have updated the chances on your CD-5 line and given Jay Fawcett(D) chances of 15-1. Now I am not saying that his chances are better then that in such a republican district but why do you seem to think that his chances are smaller when running for an open seat(I believe you previously had him at 10-1).

  19. Phoenix,
      I think that Haggard would be a fool to step into the race.  From what I know, Crank and Lamborn are well within his liking (although Haggard is a little to the left of them on some issues from what I have read).  I believe we will see the field expand to 5 or more candidates within the week and I don?t think Haggard will be one of them.

    I am not convinced that we will not have at least one or two strong candidates pop up.  Crank, Lamborn, and Anderson all have Achilles? heals (Crank has never been elected, Lamborn is not very exciting except to himself, Anderson is fairly liberal).  If a strong conservative jumps in, this could open up a lot.  I have heard Keith King?s name mentioned and rumor is there may be more beyond him. 

    It  is great for CD 5 to finally have a primary.  This has been a long time coming and it will be good for voters to get a crack at putting new blood and energy into the seat.

  20. Oh wow, just saw the line… Nice.

    I still don’t think there is a DEM in the nation who could take on the 5th. You all might be rubbing your hands thinking about a bloody GOP Primary, but the Republicans in the 5th are just no where near as diverse a crowd as those in the 3rd or even hear in the 4th now. Look how bloody the 2004 DA Race was… They still elected a GOP DA. Fawcett just hasn’t a chance.

    I see Cadman is on the line… Doesn’t he need to get his fist out of someone’s butt before he runs?

  21. if Lamborn gets in the race, he will be a great candidate, and certainly the leading one.  He’s a great American and has the kind of conservative values that we need here in Colorado and in Congress… RunDougRun… I’ll cut you a check…. RunDougRun

  22. Dear Colorado Pols after the news that Rep. Hefley announced retirement you have updated the chances on your CD-5 line and given Jay Fawcett(D) chances of 15-1. Now I am not saying that his chances are better then that in such a republican district but why do you seem to think that his chances are smaller when running for an open seat(I believe you previously had him at 10-1).

  23. As a democrat I am truly sad to see Hefley retire.  Doesn’t he leave a legacy and isn’t anyone concerned about that?  Although he didn’t vote my ideological convictions, he did have convictions, and that’s something that can’t be said for a majority in congress at this time.  He was one of the few people (very few) who stood up to Tom DeLay and for it he lost his post as chair of the ethics committee in the house.  I may not have liked his politics, and I would love nothing more than to see a bloody republican primary and have Jay Fawlwell swoop in and capture the seat, but at least one posting have to give props to good ole’ Joel Hefley, Colorado’s senior delegate, and an honest man.  I just hope that we can get someone, repub or dem, who will go against the party line when deemed appropriate.  The only thing worse than respecting authority is not questioning it.

  24. I’m sorry… Did someone say the words “conservative” and “Keith King” in the same sentence? OK, compared to Jay Fawcett, Udall and DeGette… He’s pretty conservative.

    Hey what about Norma Andersen? She’s such a great “conservative”. She could pull a Peggy Lamm and totally run in the 5th.(alas, I joke)

  25. Dear Colorado Pols after the news that Rep. Hefley announced retirement you have updated the chances on your CD-5 line and given Jay Fawcett(D) chances of 15-1. Now I am not saying that his chances are better then that in such a republican district but why do you seem to think that his chances are smaller when running for an open seat(I believe you previously had him at 10-1).

  26. Crank will have the support that counts in CD5 – from  Steve Schuck to Bill Miller to Mother Mary and many others in social & fiscal conservative circles.  He will be hard to beat.

  27. BREAKING – Hefley Out in the 5th

    Let the GOP Free-for-All begin. 
      As many of you have seen on other sites, 5th C.D. Congressman Joel Hefley of Colorado Springs has announced that he will not be running for another term in Congress.  In the heavily Republican Fifth Congressional Dis…

  28. Crank has this one in the bag. There are more counties in the 5th than El Paso. Crank has always attended every event in the 5th CD and Lamborn just started this year.

    Lamborn is to radical for the entire 5th CD.

    Go CRANK!

  29. wow, i am really relieved to see it took only a couple of hours for everyone to realize crank has a great chance in this race. its true, he’s got connections AND he has focused on the entire district unlike everyone else. I agree with youngdemin, lets not forget the impressive ethics hefley exhibited and lets hope his successor has similar values.

  30. Who will endorse Lamborn?

    1. Kent “Carpetbagger” Lambert

    2. Dave “nutjob” Crater

    3. Dave “keep illegals packin” Schultheis

    4. Tom “forced to support Lamborn” Minnery

    5. Dale “Crater’s Butt Buddy” Anderson

  31. I’m not familiar with this district or most of the players mentioned in these posts, but I read one post that questioned Keith King’s conservative credentials.  If Keith King is considered a lefty in CD-5 that must be some right leaning area!  What is the percentage of voters in each party and do the unaffiliated voters lean right as well?

  32. I’m not familiar with this district or most of the players mentioned in these posts, but I read one post that questioned Keith King’s conservative credentials.  If Keith King is considered a lefty in CD-5 that must be some right leaning area!  What is the percentage of voters in each party and do the unaffiliated voters lean right as well?

  33. I don?t know Keith King at all, but I have heard his name thrown around.  And yes, this is an ultra conservative area.  Enough so that Rivera will get pummeled for crossing Focus a couple years ago.  There are some bruised feelings from that group about a gay rights issue that Rivera crossed them on after they worked to get him elected.

  34. “Lamborn is too radical for the entire 5th CD.”

    ROFL! Yeah and Musgrave was too conservative to be elected in the 4th!

    As far as who has the broader support, Crank or Lamborn… I was very much under the impression that Jeff’s base was strongest in Colorado Springs. I have actually heard that the rest of the 5th will pose a challenge for Crank, because (aside from his District) Lamborn gains strength as one moves further from Colorado Springs. Having gone from Hefley’s staff to the Chamber of Commerce gig, the perception is that he will only look out for El Paso rather than taking care of the rest of the District.

    Besides, Cong. races always get influenced by factors outside of the District, and of all the candidates, it is Doug Lamborn who has the widest support state wide.

  35. “Lamborn is too radical for the entire 5th CD.”

    ROFL! Yeah and Musgrave was too conservative to be elected in the 4th!

    As far as who has the broader support, Crank or Lamborn… I was very much under the impression that Jeff’s base was strongest in Colorado Springs. I have actually heard that the rest of the 5th will pose a challenge for Crank, because (aside from his District) Lamborn gains strength as one moves further from Colorado Springs. Having gone from Hefley’s staff to the Chamber of Commerce gig, the perception is that he will only look out for El Paso rather than taking care of the rest of the District.

    Besides, Cong. races always get influenced by factors outside of the District, and of all the candidates, it is Doug Lamborn who has the widest support state wide.

  36. Wait, wait… I got another one.

    “Udall is too liberal for the 2nd CD!”

    LOL! Seriously dude, that’s too funny. I haven’t heard of anyone being too radical for the 5th since Attila died.

  37. Former DA, US Attorney and current AG
    John Suthers will run and win

    Merle Haggard or whatever his name is — that holy roller preacher wins if Suthers does not run

  38. Crank has never held elected office and is a political suck-up. Lamborn is so far to the right he alienates many Rs. Anderson is a good man and I think he will take the primary. I am glad to see a Dem in there, but not a chance in El Paso county.

  39. Jay Fawcett only wishes Mike Miles would run!  Miles is so liberal that he might actually help boost Fawcett?s appearance with the general voters. 

    Iron Mike, good call on the statewide aspect of the race.  Where it really matters is in the money though.  Crank really has a problem with name recognition outside the hard core party (and not all of those want a green candidate sent to DC).  If he wants to have a chance in the primary, he needs to have enough money to get his name in front of a lot of voters.  Lamborn has more name recognition as does Rivera, but they will also have to prove that they can raise funds.  This is going to be a VERY expensive primary and any candidate who can not raise 6 figures by June is going to get hammered in the primary.

  40. Wow, first a suggestion that I run for a House Seat in Greeley, now the 5th… I’m flattered.

    I just have friends from college in the 5th. I will need to wait until my girl Marilyn goes for something else before I run for Congress. I have no desire to carpet bag anywhere. The 4th is home. I just don’t feel safe and secure unless I can go for a drive and see bullet holes in stop signs.

  41. John Suthers is good.  He is a much higher caliber candidate than anyone else out there right now.  He lost his last election at the state level, but I think he has the base down in the 5th to put his hat in the ring.  Not really sure why he would do it though with his career going as well as it is in Denver.  I do think this race is open enough for someone of Suther?s caliber to jump in and do well.  Is this pure speculation or has anyone heard of this from good sources?

  42. Suthers is too invested in the AG race. I just can’t see him extract himself and then run in the 5th.

    Rivera: I have heard him mentioned for a job, but it’s not the 5th.

    Crank: I know of no one outside Colorado Springs who is supporting him. But the Springs make up a huge chunk of the votes anyone will need to win in the 5th.

    Cadman: I’ve heard his name also… I have never expected him to succeed at anything, yet he does. He keeps winning. So who knows, with his ties to Focus, he can always be a contender.

    Anderson: With Hefley out and everyone else free to dog pile in, I just think he’s done.

    Lamborn: Yeah, Doug is the guy that can cast the broadest net for fund raising. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to hear that he gets help from Musgrave and Tancredo. As to the comment that Doug is not known or not respected outside of El Paso… I don’t know who you’re talking to, but you should talk to some of the folks in the 5th outside of El Paso… Crank and Lamborn are the only ones known very well at all outside of El Paso County and Lamborn’s experience trumps Jeff in the “who is more respected” category.

    This is certainly not a done deal, but Lamborn is easily the front runner.

  43. I wouldn’t count Crank out as an effective fundraiser.  The man has spent his career as a congressional staffer and then as a registered lobbiest for years.  I am sure the guy has contacts all over the state and beyond.

  44. I put Williams in the same category as Suthers.  He is planning on announcing to run for his secure seat as a commissioner next week and why give up a sure thing with a potential future to join this rat race.

    I have not heard anything serious about Cadman running, but anything could still happen in this race.

    Rumor has it that a couple serious prospects have been quietly sniffing around.  Suthers might be one of them still.  There might be a couple others out there.  Anyone who thinks this race is already decided does not know what they are talking about.  I think we have to give it a week and see whose names start floating around, who announces, and who raises enough money to be competitive before handicapping this one.

  45. What about everyone’s favorite guy, James Dobsen?  Does he have any inclination to get in on the action?  With focus’s powerful mailing list, fundraising should be a breeze, and he is very well-known nationally and would bring in a lot of big names.  If anyone’s been to focus’s huge ‘compound’ in the springs, their employees alone may be enough to win the primary!

  46. Dobson might have a great shot at winning if he ran, but I don?t think he has any desire to do so.  Ted Haggard tarnished himself by floating his name out.  Christian conservatives like both Haggard and Dobson, but I don?t think they want either to run.  Dobson is way more influential in his current position.  The new CD5 will probably not have the ear of the president, but Dobson does and he would be foolish to give that up to become one of a throng of congressmen in DC.

  47. YoungDeminCD6: Your comment pretty much confirmed that you are young, a Democrat and have only been to the 5th to visit. Why should Dobson run for office and have only one vote, when he can have a dozen congressman voting as he “suggests”?
    Besides, Hefley was never a Dobson guy… They didn’t fight that I knew of, but they were not cozy. I have always thought Dobson’s influence in the Springs was always overstated. His influence in Phoenix or South Carolina is quite frankly much stronger than it is in the Springs.

  48. The thought of someone like Dobson and how serious of a contender he would be does go to show that this race could take some wild turns before it really gets underway.

  49. The El Paso GOP is definitely divided right now.  That began with C & D.  But I must agree with Iron Mike (yuck) that a Dem has no chance to take this seat even with a bloody GOP (in El Paso that stands for “God’s Own Party) primary, which there is likely to be.

    El Paso elections will be interesting in other ways as well.  Rumors are that John Morse is looking to take on the enormously unpopular Ed Jones in Senate 11.  This will be a fun one to watch.

    I would, however, like to see a good CONTEST between Fawcett and Anderson.

  50. Yeah, Dobson for Congress. Everyone else is too radical for the 5th CD, but not James Dobson.

    Hey did you hear that the Denver DEMs are going to roll DeGette? Yeah, she’s too progressive for Denver. (alas, I joke)

  51. Actually Druid, I heard the division, such as it is, within the El Paso GOP has nothing to do with C&D as much as it does with Cindy Murphy stacking the 5th CD Executive Committee for Crank and then bolting town. A lot of folks felt she lied about both Hefley’s intentions and Lamborn’s ambitions. So now, they are in a pickle: They gave support to Jeff, but really want to support Doug.

    C&D? In the 5th? Check your election returns pal, C&D was defeated through-out the 5th, by larger margins than anywhere else. Everyone except the Springs City Council hated it. No division there buddy.

  52. Sure man.  I live down here.  And talked to many of the local long time business owners down here who were furious at the GOP not supporting C & D.  You are correct in the sense that the *party* had no split but not at all about their funders.

    Which is what really matters.  The El Paso GOP is taking it’s position for granted. 

    Good.

  53. Actually, Iron Mike, 47 percent of El Paso County voted for C and 48 percent of Douglas County supported C.  It didn’t quite carry but such strong showing in these two overwhelmingly Republican counties were the key to its victory statewide.
    so when you say ” Everyone except the Springs City Council hated it.” I think you mean everybody except the voters hated it.
    I agree with you, however, about Attila being too politically extreme for CD5.  By their standards, he’s way out on the left.  When it comes to income redistribution, nobody redistributed like Attila.

  54. Lamborn has been completely ineffective, and a joke in the state legislature.  He is considered the ultimate lightweight by his colleagues.  He panders to the right wing on gays and abortion, and hasn’t passed a significant bill in 12 years in the legislature.

    And he won’t be able to run from his ultra-liberal record on tort reform.  He votes with the trial lawyers (he is one himself), and that should be enough to sink him in CD 5.

    CD 5 will elect a Republican, regardless of the nominee.  And that person will stay there for as long as they wish.  Don’t the people of that district deserve someone who has a record of proven leadership?  It is certainly not the weenie Lamborn.

    Wayne Williams would be a good choice.  Bill Cadman is tough.  Jeff Crank is a good guy, but lacks a reliable voting record upon which to judge him.  Keith King is a solid conservative, and has been a leader in education reform.  Ron May and Andy McElhany are solid, but their age is against them.  Jones is a good guy, but needs to hang on to the senate seat for the party.  But please – Lamborn???  I would take any of these other people over that spineless jellyfish.

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