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September 01, 2023 06:42 AM MDT

First Domino Settles after Moreno Resignation

  • by: Colorado Pols
New State Sen. Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D-Adams County)

Democrats have concluded the first step in the necessary seat shifting and vacancy committee requirements set in motion by the early August resignation of Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno, who left his job at the state legislature in order to take a position as Deputy Chief of Staff in Denver Mayor Mike Johnston’s administration.

At around the same time that Moreno announced his resignation from the State Senate, he publicly endorsed Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet to succeed him in SD-21, which includes Commerce City and a chunk of Westminster. On Thursday evening, a Democratic vacancy made that selection official. According to a press release from Colorado Senate Democrats:

“Adams County voters can rest easy knowing they’ll continue being well represented by a strong voice in the Senate, and I look forward to working with Senator-elect Michaelson Jenet to build a stronger, safer and healthier Colorado for us all,” said Senate President Steve Fenberg.

Michaelson Jenet has represented Colorado’s House District 32 for the past seven years, where she served as chair of the House Public Health & Human Services Committee and on the Education and Legislative Audit Committees.

Michaelson Jenet holds an MBA from the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business and a bachelor’s degree from Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women.

Michaelson Jenet could not have run again in House District 32 because of term limits, but she will need to keep campaigning anyway; she’ll be running in 2024 in order to earn a full term in the State Senate. Another Democratic vacancy committee will now need to convene in order to select Michaelson Jenet’s replacement in HD-32 (Adams County); the winner in that vacancy committee will also need to run in 2024 for a full term.

Adams 14 school board member Lucy Molina, who lost to Michaelson Jenet in the SD-21 vacancy committee, could be a candidate for the HD-32 opening, though she would have to get past Manny Rutinel, a local attorney and activist who was already running for HD-32 (and has been endorsed by both Moreno and Michaelson Jenet).

Michaelson Jenet’s selection also sets up a bigger contest for September 8, when Senate Democrats will meet to select a new #2 in their Senate supermajority. A host of well-known names are eyeing the Senate Majority Leader position, including Sens. Faith Winter, Robert Rodriguez, Janet Buckner, and Rachel Zenzinger. Should Rodriguez (assistant majority leader); Buckner (Majority Caucus Chair); or Zenzinger (Chair of the Joint Budget Committee) end up as Senate Majority Leader, it will create another opening to fill within the Democratic caucus.

This will all work itself out in time for the next legislative session in January. The 2024 election will then shake things up once more. And around, and around, and around we go…


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