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November 13, 2007 05:55 PM UTC

Fitz-Gerald to Resign from State Senate

  • 63 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE: It’s official. See the Rocky Mountain News.

Local blog Squarestate.net breaks the news:

Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald is set to announce her resignation from the Colorado State Senate at a press conference tomorrow in Denver. She will be focusing now on her run for the vacant Congressional seat in Colorado’s second district.

She has represented Senate District 16 since 2001, serving the counties of Boulder, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Jefferson and Summit.

At a meeting of Democrats in Summit County tonight, State House Representative Dan Gibbs made official his bid to be Fitz-Gerald’s successor, and he is the presumptive favorite for the role.

As of yet, it is less clear who will replace her in her leadership role of a chamber that will already be replacing the term limited Majority Leader, Sen. Ken Gordon.

Fitz-Gerald is competing to replace outgoing Rep. Udall in a three way primary against former Board of Education member Jared Polis, and Will Shafroth of Boulder, Colorado. There is no significant Republican vying for the seat.

Fitz-Gerald’s resignation will be effective Wednesday.

A very interesting development, since Fitz-Gerald had been on record up to this time as having no plans to resign from her powerful position as Senate President. This could have significant implications for fundraising in the coming year, both positive and negative (since she will not be bound by legislative campaign finance restrictions but will no longer wield power)–and will also leave her free to campaign full-time for CD-2.

We have heard rumor of recent internal polls indicating a slippage in support for Fitz-Gerald in the CD-2 race (whether or not that slippage trends in favor of opponents Jared Polis or Will Shafroth is unclear), which could have been a decisive factor.

Comments

63 thoughts on “Fitz-Gerald to Resign from State Senate

  1. this is a bit surprising.  I think it makes sense b/c she’ll need to raise a ton of cash to keep up with or stay ahead of JP and WS, but I’m still kinda surprised.  And, being able to campaign full time should help too.

    But hey Pols, if you “hear rumors” about internals, how do you figure JFG deserves a rising arrow on the Big Line?  Also, it’s not like JP has screwed up anything in the last 2 weeks, yet you moved him further behind WS and JFG.  I’m not even going to whine about bias…this latest iteration of the CD-2 Line just doesnt make sense…

  2. I go for two weeks without updating my website and then find myself doing it 5 times in 3 days.

    Oh well, I think I am caught up unless anyone else quits or until the Ron May-Bill Cadman-Doug Bruce game of musical chairs stops.

    Interesting updates:
    Josh Hanfling has filed for HD6 so there are officially 5 candidates. The more people in this race the more likely the assembly will NOT produce a primary. If one person is strong enough to get, say 40% that leave 60% for the others to divide 4 ways (or 15% each if split evenly). 30% is needed to get to the ballot. Of course if all 5 split the vote evenly (roughly 20% each) then a 2nd (and maybe a 3rd) round of voting will have to take place.

    In the DA’s races there has been very little activity. All of the incumbents but two can run for re-election this time. So far one of those seats still has no candidate filed at the SoS’s office. And only a couple of the incumbents have filed. Perhaps all the DA excitement was used up last time when Mitch Morrissey got elected in Denver in a 3-way primary with no GOP opposiiton.

    Cindy Carlisle is still the only filed candidate for Ron Tupa’s seat even though there are 3 others rumored to be running for it.

    Peter Groff has filed his 2008 paperwork, ending the speculation that he may quit.

    Alice Borodkin seems to have dodged the primary bullet in her bid to replace Ken Gordon.

    Steve Hasbrouk has announced for HD16. Has Larry Liston announced retirement or is he being challanged?

    Catherine Roupe is the first out of the gate on the heels of the announcement by Stella Hicks she will not seek election to another term.

    1. Joan Fitz-Gerald timed her announcement for one reason to control who is selected to take her place.

      With the vacancy committee forced to meet during the Thanksgiving period Joan can and will hand pick her successor with only token opposition. I do not know who Joan wants but it will be her choice and I bet it is not Dan Gibbs.

      1. I’d say virtually certain. I can’t imagine anyone not going the signature route if they don’t get 30% at the caucus (Shafroth probably won’t even try).

  3. Not only will she no longer be able to yell at people to do her biding at the Capitol, but did you hear about her encounter with a Polis staffer –who happens to be Latino–at the Adams County meeting this past weekend?

    Joan herself yelled at the staffer accusing him of lying about her votes in support of the Iraq War. She was referring to the press release that Polis put out over a month ago on her Iraq votes, that was on the Polis lit table. The facts have been pointed out in the Rocky and elsewhere, Joan did vote to support Bush and the Iraq war on more than one occasion.  Regardless, a candidate for Congress (and the Democratic Senate President) yelling at a staffer is at a minimum unprofessional and shows that Joan is losing it.  And it’s only November.

    The whole thing would have been comically if it didn’t involve the Democratic leader of the Senate.

    1. First, injecting the “Latino” part of your post into this argument where it clearly has no part shows just how seriously partisan and offensive this whole thing has become.  I’m not surprised Joan is getting tired of people falsely casting her as “in support of the war”.  I’d say more, but I’m not at liberty to do so and am supposed to be remaining neutral.  Observationally, these negative attacks have not been making a good impression on the party faithful.

      1. While I agree 100% with your comment about the previous poster’s use of the word “Latino,” I must disagree with your comment about falsely casting her as “in support of the war.” She clearly voted in favor of a resolution that supported Bush’s efforts to topple Hussein. Now, when asked, she says that she only voted for a resolution supporting the troops. That is half true. There was a separate resolution supporting the troops which she did indeed vote for. But the vote in favor of Bush and his activities in Iraq (a vote that took place after the war had started) was clearly a vote in support of the war. To say otherwise is trying to distort history.

        1. where was Jared during all of this? Has he voted or done anything at all to stop the war from happening or to end the occupation (before running for Congress)?

              1. I would much rather have the board of ed focus on ED.  I would also rather take Polis or a woman who voted to support George Bush’s Leadership. I am sorry but it is black and white… she is now trying to make up for a HUGE mistake of supporting George Bush.

          1. You’re right, but you are also changing the subject. I was simply saying that Joan supported the war in her vote and to say otherwise is incorrect. Jared not doing anything is a separate point.

            1. if he was opposed to the war in 2003-2007 (pre-campaign announcement) he could have said something to a reporter, written an editorial, showed up at a protest. Im asking what Jared did if anything.

              Im not changing the subject. The subject is the war.

              1. especially since he was a political figure.  Aside from his SBOE duties, he backed candidates (some pro war–some against), wrote editorials promoting things like vouchers and post office privatization. 

                Perhaps he didn’t have strong feelings on the Iraq war.

                I am actually against meaningless votes (resolution praising the girl scouts for their tireless work promoting cookie satisfaction, condeming Moveon.org for picking on a poor defenseless 4 star general–whatever) in general, but if you are a politican and something matters to you, at least write a letter to the editor.

      1. It’s Adams County! And it’s a PR issue. (Though not a huge one, I don’t think) JFG did exactly not endear herself to the Hispanic community with her positions and legislation on immigration. 

        The decision to step down from the Senate was a tough call. It had to be done but I think in the long run it will favor JP.  So much of JFG’s strenghts are her ties to the establishment. Now there’s less access and less  muscle.  More freedom for people to endorse or support JP.  People are less likely to be intimidated.

        I’m actually wondering why she is doing this so soon. For the next 8 months, she’ll have to battle a la grassroots. Is she going to make more friends or enemies?  And I think she’s feeling the squeeze.  The poll, (was it a WS poll?) has got to contain terrible news for her.  Maybe that’s why she’s snapping at JP staffers? I can’t believe she snapped. That is hilarious!

    2. What does the part about the staffer being Latino have to do with the rest of your post?

      Also, is it news that Fitz-Gerald might not be the easiest person to work with/for? I didn’t think it was news and I’m not even an “insider.”

    3. in this case is probably gratuitous since Joan probably didn’t care at the time. She was just yelling at the nearest person associated with JP. But it is clear, to me at least, that she has some problems with the Latino vote, stemming from the special immigration session, and this won’t help. It’s also undeniable she has problems with her temper and her tendency to intimidate those who don’t fall in line behind her. Sometimes I think she wants this TOO much, and for all the wrong reasons.

      1. has an incredible list of accomplishments for the progressive cause; she knows how to get it done. She’s not running for herself, that’s very clear.

        If the case were to be made for ambitious candidates, one would not look at the experienced leader with a proven record, but the other guy who has to prove to voters that he represents them in anyway. And how much money is JP going spend for himself? If that’s not a clear sign of running for the wrong reasons, I don’t know what is.

        1. I deeply respect her time as Dem Leader, even though she did a couple horrible things in the interests of political expediency, including the immigration session, which has had just horrendous human costs (who would have thought the most draconian immigration laws in the country would come out of a state with a DEMOCRATIC legislature?) and the Iraq resolution.

          What I mean by “for the wrong reasons” is that she appears to be trying to use raw power — personal intimidation and politcal arm-twisting — to gain power, and in the two or three times I’ve seen her on the stump she really doesn’t have anything in particular she wants done in Washington (other than end the war, which all Dems want). Polis, for all his faults, could be doing just about anything other than campaigning to be a freshman member of Congress. And every time I see HIM he’s full of things he wants to do for people. Specific things. Now, is he unrealistic about what he can accomplish? Maybe. But the vibe is so different between the two.

    4. Are you just a Polis staffer trying to stir the pot?

      Are we not supposed to insult latinos? Latino don’t lie?

      If that’s the case I take back everything I said about Alberto Gonzales.

      1. Candidates are not supposed to yell at staffers is the issue.  His being Latino was just ironic since it was in Adams. 

        And apparently the staffer didn’t say anything, it all came out of JFG’s mouth and her volunteer.

        1. Irony is a literary or rhetorical device, in which there is a gap or incongruity between what a speaker or a writer says and what is generally understood (either at the time, or in the later context of history). Irony may also arise from a discordance between acts and results, especially if it is striking, and seen by an outside audience. Irony is understood as an aesthetic evaluation by an audience, which relies on a sharp discordance between the real and the ideal, and which is variously applied to texts, speech, events, acts, and even fashion. All the different senses of irony revolve around the perceived notion of an incongruity, or a gap between an understanding of reality, or expectation of a reality, and what actually happens.

          It certainly is not ironic.

          Joan has a temper (so do I), and she needs to control it.  Jared has a lot of irritating people on his payroll, but JFG shouldn’t be yelling at them.

          But all of this information is coming from Polis staffers who may or may not be reliable. Not that they are lying: they just may not understand what certain words mean.

                1. I guess my wife is going to be pissed considering she is latino (she is Brazilian).

                  I have no problem with latinos, whether immigrants (illegal or otherwise) or families in the US before the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

                  What I was wondering is why someone brings up the ethnicity of a staffer when it has no relation to the issue of JFG having a temper.

    5. But which of the others are you shilling for??? I’m for Joan, make no mistake.  But, anyone who has known Joan (as I have for 16 years) knows that she doesn’t take personal insults lightly.  They also know that Joan isn’t afraid to state her point, even if she has to raise her voice.  I will never, never forget the first time I met her when she was running for Jeffco C&R and I was Jeffco Republican Chair.  I made some snide remark (as cocky 32 year old politicians are known to make) and she put me right in my place without any hesitation at all.  Frankly, I thinks that’s a quality we could use more of in Washington.  Certainly better than Milquetoast Polis or Clueless Shafroth.

  4. Who picks the replacement?

    My guess is that the poll that no one is doing shows her close. Polis must be within striking distance and she needs to fully focus on the race. I wonder how many members of the house and senate now come out for Polis.  Now tht the person who can kill votes from the floor is no longer there with that power hanging over your head.

    1. The SD-16 vacancy committee must meet within 10 days to choose a replacement.  That committee consists of the SD-16 party officers, the various county party officers in the district (or, if the county party officer resides outside of SD-16, a representative of that officer residing within the district), plus a few people who attended the SD-16 re-org meeting.

        1. Dan Gibbs is obviously in.  Tom Plant was mentioned as a potential some time ago, but now that he’s got a job with the Governor’s office…

          Dan’s a good guy and I have to agree he’s probably the favorite right now, unless someone else’s name pops up between now and the meeting who wasn’t mentioned in the past.

      1. It has to be no laer than 10 days after the effective date of the resignation. So if Joan she resigns effctive Nov. 30th, the vacancy committee has until Dec 10th to meet.

        I have not idea what effective date Joan has in mind, I threw those dates out there as an example.

        1. The effective date is tomorrow (Nov 14) so the vacancy committee has to meet by Nov. 24, which happens to fall into the middle of Thanksgiving weekend. Sucky timing. If they have their ducks in a row, the could do it next Tues or Wed I suppose

        2. …..whatever happened to the vacancy committee that was rumored to have been scheduled, then postponed (dare I say postponed indefinitely?) pending receipt of the resignation of Senator-Elect Fister Cadman?
            Has Doug Bruce been crowned as the new state Rep.?

  5.   This is one of Joan’s better qualities…..she doesn’t do things in a “half-assed” way.  She’s serious about this race and her commitment to it, and she’s showing it.  She also probably believes that her constituents are entitled to a fulltime (at least while the legislature is in session) state Senator.

    1. if Polis or Shafroth is able to paint her as an opportunistic person who doesn’t follow through on commitments? or some such label? I myself am uncommitted in this race and I think for the moment that this helps JFG, but it’s hard to say how this will actually play out. I think there is a big potential downside to this move for her.

      1. I wouldn’t say that JFG is half-assed about being a senator, or not following thru on her committments. She’s led well for a while and sees an opportnity to continue to do so at a higher level.

        I think the issue at hand is that JFG is scrambling  to keep her lead. And its so early for the ‘frontrunner’ to do this. 

      2. however I see her immediate resignation from the Senate as a firm commitment to the Senate, the Legislature, and her party. It gives a new senator the opportunity to be in from the start because bill titles are due in a couple of weeks, and there are meetings plus session start almost immediately (in political tine).  Her commitment to succession will make the change over process that much easier then stepping down during the session.
          She will also not be trying to campaign during session.  Legislators have very long days and nights from Jan to May.
          All of this says it is very smart and logical to tender her resignation now and not in 2008.

        1. When Joan called me this morning, she mentioned making sure we were well-represented by giving her replacement the time they needed, rather than resigning at the last minute.

          She also mentioned the time and the finance issues.  While she would have gotten essentially free press coverage, the potential money conflicts and the fact that she’d be open to charges of political pandering once the session started probably all say “good decision”.  I had thought she could stay in, but our ethics laws don’t really permit it…

          1. Is that what she is telling people. I have news for you. Colorado’s election laws are 100% trumped by federal election laws. If she is telling her constituents that she bailed out on them because of that, then she is really bending the truth at best.

              1. Colorado has no election laws for federal campaigns. They have laws for state races. That is what she is trying to say applies to her!?! Wrong. And she knows it.

            1. Phoenix said that she wanted to allow time for her replacement to acclimate, time issues, and finance issues. Phoenix, not Joan, made the reference to finance laws. I know you’re a Shafroth supporter but hold off on starting the rumors.

              This is the most honest and forthright path for Fitzgerald.

              1. Phoenix said Joan called him and that is what she said. My response was IF that is what she said, it is not correct. I was being accurate. If anyone was starting “rumors,” it was Phoenix. So hold off on the criticism until you’ve read the posts.

                1. As a legislator, she can’t accept certain monies.  As a candidate for a Federal office she can, but the two laws aren’t mutually exclusive.

                  Also, I am at best paraphrasing Joan; please do not take me for a dictation machine or spokesman.

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