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January 18, 2006 09:00 AM UTC

Ritter to Name Running Mate...Too Late?

  • by: Colorado Pols

Democrat Bill Ritter has made a lot of moves in the last week in what would appear to be a last-ditch attempt to keep Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper out of the race for governor. The boldest of those moves came yesterday with word that Ritter has already found a running mate. From The Denver Post:

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter is expected to announce today that he has picked Barbara O’Brien of the Colorado Children’s Campaign to be his running mate, according to sources close to his campaign.

The early choice of a woman appears to be an attempt to balance the ticket for Ritter, the former Denver district attorney who is opposed by some traditional elements of his party because of his stance against abortion rights. O’Brien is known for her support of such rights.

Ritter’s early pick also may indicate that despite speculation that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper may enter the Democratic primary, Ritter is committed for the long haul.

“It’s a bold move on Ritter’s part to pick someone so early. It’s also an out-of-the-box move to pick someone on the nonprofit and advocacy side and not the elected side,” said consultant Eric Sondermann, who once did work for the Children’s Campaign.

O’Brien could not be reached for comment. The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a bipartisan group that focuses on expanding access to quality health care, early childhood experiences and K-12 education. O’Brien has been known to use her political savvy to affect legislation for children at the state level.

This is an interesting move by Ritter, because the word in the last couple of days has been that Hickenlooper could announce his candidacy for governor soon. Ritter has had months to build his case among Democrats to prevent a primary opponent, but he has waited until the last two weeks to make any aggressive moves. Is it too late now?


12 thoughts on “Ritter to Name Running Mate…Too Late?

  1. “…what would appear to be a last-ditch attempt to keep Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper “

    Funniest comment I’ve read all week.  Keep ’em coming ColoPols!  LOL

  2. Suprise, Suprise…Bill picks a running mate from Denver.  How is he going to win a statewide campaign by isolating himself in Denver?  O’Brien also supports school vouchers, which for the most part teachers do not suppport.  That sounds like a great move.  How many more groups can Ritter alienate?

  3. EZMak, didn’t you know that there is nothing past the border of the city of Denver but a vast wastelend?
    Remember those drawings from the 1400’s showing nothing but dragons and hellfire past the shores of Europe? Some politicians think the same goes for Denver.

  4. The early choice of a woman appears to be an attempt to balance the ticket for Ritter, the former Denver district attorney who is opposed by some traditional elements of his party because of his stance against abortion rights.

    “Traditional elements” going back only thirty, forty years at most?  Even back in the early eighties you could find Ted Kennedy and Jesse Jackson denouncing the abortion license.

  5. I think the fact that O’Brien is open to school vouchers is great news.  Face it, the teachers union, faced with either Bob Ways Bob or an increasingly psychotic Holtzman, will rally behind an O’Brien/Ritter ticket in any case.  This allows them to appeal to the vital middle of state politics, where school choice is a significant issue to many parents.  Besides, breathes there a Democrat that doesn’t go into orgasm at the invocation of the phrase “It’s for the children!”?  The head of the Children’s campaign joining a veteran crime fighter like Ritter is a marriage made in political heaven.

  6. “Traditional” in politics is seldom more than two decades.  Opinions change, alliances change, focus groups change.

    20 years ago, neo-conservatives had no significant hold on the GOP.  20 years ago, Reagan was just paving the way for the Religious Right.  20 years ago, we were still fighting the Cold War.

    Pro-choice politics have been predominantly Democratic Party issues since the Roe v. Wade decision regardless of anything any particular candidate might have believed at the time, and feminism issues have been predominantly Democratic Party issues since before I started voting.

    What is it with the recent rash of “the Democratic Party isn’t all light and goodness” based on “ancient” history?  Is it perhaps a need to try to compensate for the reality that’s creeping in about current GOP politics?

  7. Phoenix, your points would hold more water if the undercurrents of “please Hick, run!” weren’t prevalent.

    Note the salivating in the ColoPols home page, to wit:  “If Hick runs, Ritter is done”.

    Otherwise, (assuming no run by Hick) there’ll be one of two things happening:  Democrats will vote holding their collective nose, or, Democrats will stay home on election day.

  8. In the end, most Democrats will vote with held noses if they think they need to do said nose-holding.  There will be a small core that will stay home, just like the core of anti-corporates that vote Green rather than support the other 90% of their agenda, or the anti-choice core that would rather not vote GOP at all than vote for a pro-choice Republican.

    I was impressed with Ritter’s responses here on ColoradoPols; they were well-thought-out and presented with the professionalism and rationality of a class-act attorney.  I may be pro-choice, but if Democrats continue to shine in their job performance, Ritter will never have to consider an anti-choice bill and the whole issue will be moot.  Doesn’t mean I can’t nag him to move to a slightly less religiously-involved stand, though…

  9. Where would you get the idea O’Brien is open to vouchers?  Has there been some statement to that effect? Besides, slightly over 60% of Coloradans oppose school vouchers so it wouldn’t be a very good point to run on if you are a D who wants to pick up those suburban D, moderate R and independant voters.  As a matter of fact, if Barbara does support vouchers she plays a 0 sum game for the ticket with the votes she gains by being pro-choice against the votes she’ll lose by supporting vouchers.

  10. Hickenlooper is not running.  Look at how much money the “foundation advocacy community” of which Barbara O’Brien is a charter member, gave to the Mayor’s Homeless Initiative.  I wonder if Hickenlooper is looking towards a Senate race in the future?  The person who should be mending state wide fences, might well be Udall.
    As for Ritter being anti abortion rights.  That is not true.  Ritter has said over and over again that he supports the law and does not want to change it.  He calls himself Pro-life because his church demands that of him.  Other Catholic politicans with exactely the same position chose to call themselves Pro-choice.
    The Democratics have finally adopted  the strategy which has worked so well for the Republicans.  Call yourself Pro-Life; vote Pro-Choice.  Nobody cares.

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