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December 24, 2008 06:27 PM UTC

"Sleeper" Peter Groff?

  • 80 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

Politico speculates, having obviously gotten a phone call from somebody in DC they consider authoritative–we weren’t the source of this “buzz.” If fact we’re pretty sure it’s the first we’ve heard of this “buzz.” Heck, any time we make a phone call we can hear, in the background, a faint “buzz.” That said,

There is one intriguing sleeper candidate getting buzz as a possible successor for Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, who is leaving the Senate to serve as President-elect Obama’s Interior Secretary.

The candidate is Democratic state Senate President Peter Groff…[who] has been mentioned on most of the speculative lists of candidates, but isn’t considered a top-tier contender to win the appointment.

Groff has a strong resume. He quickly moved up the ranks in the state legislature after being elected to the state House in 2000. Before that, he served as an adviser to former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb. One Democratic operative in Colorado called him the “best public speaker” of all the prospective candidates in either party.

And by making an outside-the-box selection, Gov. Bill Ritter (D-Colo.) would get some national attention as he prepares to face his own tough re-election campaign in two years.

The negatives: Groff hasn’t been tested politically, as he represents a solidly-Democratic legislative district in Denver. He has an eight-year voting record that Republicans could scrutinize in a general election. And he would have to demonstrate he can raise the millions necessary for a statewide race in 2010…

H/T: Colorado Independent

Comments

80 thoughts on ““Sleeper” Peter Groff?

    1. In terms of name recognition I don’t see a lot of difference between Perlmutter & Groff. Maybe there is amoung those who follow politics, but for the vast majority of voters who don’t – I think they’re pretty even on that score.

      1. name has appeared on the ballots of 1/7 of the state’s voters as opposed to Groff’s whose name has appeared on 1/35.

        That is a huge difference.  It is much easier to make a leap from a congressional seat to the Senate than it from a state legislative seat.  Not saying it can’t be done (witness Barack Obama), just saying it is more difficult.

          1. Groff may well be qualified to be in the Senate (I think he’d likely do a very fine job–in fact, I probably agree more with him than I do Perlmutter on issues).  

            I was only addessing the issue of name recognition.  Perlmutter has been on the ballot in front of 5x more people than has Groff and he represents a constituency that is 5x larger.  His name recognition is significantly higher than is Groff’s and that is a significant obstacle for Groff to overcome vs. Perlmutter.  Perlmutter starts with a larger base from which to launch a statewide campaign.

            Is Groff’s obstacle insurmountable?  Not necessarily.  

            But if you are Bill Ritter and you are making the appointment with an eye towards who starts out with an advantage in terms of retaining the seat in 2 years, Perlmutter comes out on top against Groff.

            1. But keep in mind that whoever gets this has 2 years where their name will be put in front of everyone week after week. If there was an election in 2 months existing name recognition would be gigantic. But for an election in 2 years, that comes to a large degree with the appointment.

        1. Ed has more than just larger geography for name recognition. He also has many more years in the game. He was Senate Pres. Pro-Tem long before he was a Rep.

          Groff would be good, but I think he is getting the experience right now that will make him great later.

    1. Groff does co-host a national weekly radio show.  So it is likely he does have some ability to tap into a nationwide donor network, at least to a degree.

  1. from the Denver Post

    The top contenders for the two highest-profile appointments of Gov. Bill Ritter’s career look a lot alike.



    The similarity has some people pressing Ritter to ignore political chatter putting three Denver-area men at the front of the line for U.S. senator and to appoint a woman. It would be the highest statewide office ever held by a woman in Colorado.

    1. .

      David,

      it almost seems as if you are saying, repeatedly,

      “appoint someone based on gender or ethnicity.”

      I wouldn’t discount a candidate for not being a Caucasian man, but please don’t make that into a requirement.

      the State of Colorado has done quite a lot of affirmative action, both by election and by appointment, into elective positions, and I don’t see that it has made this a better place to live.  Or worse.  

      I’m hearing an echo from November, when folks proved to themselves that they weren’t racist by voting for Obama.  please.

      Try judging folks based on other factors, see if you come to different conclusions.

      You seem to have this chip on your shoulder against some percieved “good-old-white-boy” network that somehow slighted you in the past.  

      Guess what ?

      The folks you hold that grievance against, while they mostly have race and gender in common, are more likely bound together by the ties of class and wealth.

      Try to keep up.

      .  

      1. but that it shouldn’t. Yet when all the “qualified” candidates just happen to be white males, then I wonder. It’s like what qualifies is carefully tailored to just include 3 white males.

        As to being slighted in the past, I’m a white male so a system that gives preference to white males does benefit me. But I still don’t like it.

          1. And that’s the problems with these cases – any single one statisticaly could be anything. It’s when looking at all of them together where statistics tell the story.

            What did it for me was the SoS followed by this – that in both cases it just happened to be 3 white dudes.

      1. In terms of what Barron said, I generally agree. Lets not support people based on gender or ethnicity. Certainly that type of rationale is not in the spirit of what Dr. King said or believed, for example.

        I personally believe that women in the style of Swanee Hunt, that is women who are for women because they’re women, are holding themselves and their gender back by simply choosing a candidate based on gender (and party too, rolls eyes again) and not qualifications.

        I don’t follow David’s posts enough to have an opinion on whether he totes the “no more white boys” line or not.

  2. .

    someone here mentioned it as a negative for appointing John Salazar.  

    Why wouldn’t it come up here ?  

    When folks mention “Senator Groff,” I first think “Regis.”

    .

    1. Peter won his House seat fair and square (albeit with plenty of built-in name recognition). It’s nothing like appointing a family member to fill out a vacancy. The word you might be looking for is “dynasty,” which has its own set of problems.

  3. That said, why would the Guv go with sitting Senate Prez vs. soon to be former Speaker … other then one might have … more balls, more determination, has passed the bar, comes from middle class background, was a major force for BO in CO as opposed to the Guv who backed HRC, etc.

    But alas, where are the J Salazar supporters?

    1. ..rather than posting random stuff on a website???

      and what does “passing the bar” have to do with anything?  Is doing so supposed to make one a better senator?

      1. …what does have been a major force for BO in CO or coming from middle class background have to do with anything either?

        Frankly I think that is the reason Romo went to law school … to make him a better legislator.

        So, yes if your Romo you’d agree that being a lawyer makes you a better legislator and Groff has many more years/experience on that front.

          1. I just asked this of my brother. Passed the bar many years ago, got suspended.  My sister never passed the bar. She identified herself to someone in general conversation as a lawyer.  I asked my brother later if she can, and he said yes.  

            The difference is that you can’t practice law without having passed the bar.

            I think it’s great that Andrew expanded his knowledge.  I mean, if a body is making law, isn’t it to the public’s advantage to have experts in law doing it?  No assurance against bad law, but probably more likely to avoid “stupid” law.  

              1. I believe in some states, you don’t even have to have a J.D. to practice law, but can still rise up through an apprentice system. But in almost every state, a degree is required to sit for the bar.

              2. Maybe there is a state somewhere that still allows it.  Probably too many problems with unqualified people like Abe Lincoln, you know.

                The issue of a mandatory legal education is just guild protection, like so many state run ones.  I mean, if you can pass the test, WTF?  

                California has several law schools that are recognized only by the California bar and no others.  Graduate from one, and your legal career is limited to CA.  

                  1. Wikipedia

                    Patent attorneys must also be admitted to the practice of law in at least one state or territory of the U.S. In the time since the USPTO issued the first patent in 1790, approximately 62,000 citizens have passed the USPTO registration examination and hold a license to prosecute patent applications. Only about 27,000 of those license holders are also licensed to practice law.

                    1. Assuming we wish to believe Wiki:  patent attorneys must be licensed in at least one state.  Other people (non-attorneys) who hold a license to prosecute patents don’t need to be licensed to practice law.

                  1. Is that supposed to be logical?

                    As a matter of fact, he does great project oversight work and contract negotiations with principals.  All perfectly legal.

                    Still a smart guy.  Still knows what a lawyer is or isn’t.  

  4. Look, much respect to the Senate President, but I think the “insiders” Politico spoke with probably work for the Colorado Senate. I’ll eat my cowboy hat in a YouTube video if I’m wrong on this one, but Groff ain’t getting the appointment. I think he’s a fantastic Senate President and strong contender for higher office down the road, but just not a very likely pick this time around. That being said, it’s always good when a politician gets their name floated for things like this, so mad props to his PR folks for getting the story in Politico.

      1. Where do you suppose Neal got her information? Nice work by the aides, but that’s really all this is. Groff will not get the appointment, no matter how wonderful he is.

        1. is perfectly capable of gathering information on her own. She was on one of the morning news shows a week ago saying she thought there was a sleeper candidate out there that no one was touting. Politicians like Groff have plenty of allies and supporters, it’s not just “the aides” doing the work. Wanna bet Josh at Politico read Politics West and then made some calls yesterday?

          But of course you’re right, Groff’s not the next senator from Colorado.  

          1. Gloria doesn’t come up with a name like Groff’s unless someone’s pushing it. Clearly that doesn’t just have to come from his “aides” – I’m not a moron, thanks.

            But please tell me you don’t seriously believe that Gloria and/or the Politico started talking about a Groff appointment without some serious pushing from his (as you put it) “allies and supporters.” There’s a whole litany of ways this helps Groff, even though we all know it’s almost certainly not going to happen.

            Speaking of, my aides must completely suck. Where’s my story in Politico?

  5. I like Peter Groff a lot and I think he has a great career in politics, but still ahead of him.

    Once again there are only two criteria the Governor should be considering for this appointment: Will they serve the State well? Can they win in 2010 relatively easily?

    I have no doubt Peter would excel at the first, but I am afraid he is not quite ready for the second.

    Maybe by the next time another US Senate seat comes open he will have been out there in a statewide way that would benefit him in such a race, but right now is just too early in his career.

    1. And about the whole diversity thing.  It’s a legitimate factor to consider along with others but shouldn’t trump every other consideration.  Some of it at this point is just that there are more white males farther along in the pipeline but Dem minorities and women are making progress here in Colorado.  

      No doubt there will be more of them available that fit all the most important criteria in the future.  Unfortunately it’s still easier to get a woman or minority elected in a safe CD, state SD or HD while the more widely known, who have been elected either statewide or in very competitive districts, are largely white male.

      John Salazar has what it takes but is most needed to hold CD3. Romanoff is from a safe district but has demonstrated wider appeal as has Hickenlooper.

      With all the Dem women now in our legislature, Carey Kennedy in statewide office, the Hispanic Salazars so prominent and with great African-American up and comers like Goff, diversity is bound to expand without making it the central issue every time there is an opening.

        1. and Paul Rosenthal made a very credible attempt for HD9 (he was beaten in he primary by Rep-Elect Joe Miklosi)

          And I know of at least a couple of openly LGBT folks who are looking at runs for the legislature in 2010.

    2. the its Hickenlooper simple and straight unless the polls allow the voters to confuse J and K Salazar. The Dem Senate Committee will come back to the Guv with polling numbers that show only Hickenlooper meets the test (unless the Salazar carry over is allowed thru).

      Now the Guv knows Hick would have crushed him in a primary and so the question comes. Does he hold the man back and risk a threat or take the safe route and promote him to DC.

      1. You really believe Hick might challenge Ritter in a primary if he doesn’t appoint him to the Senate? Are you that out of touch with reality, or just starting early with the Christmas cheer?

        1. maps out a RTD plan and keeps the city humming while the state shows zero action or leadership then I think it is clear that Hick would be forced to make a move on Ritter.

        2. I’ve heard several very sober individuals discussing that very possibility. Apparently Ritter’s internal numbers are horrible. So bad, in fact, that he may draw the R’s best shot, as opposed to our 2 year incumbent Senator.

    3. I’m sorry but the excuse that “you just need a bit more experience” has been used numerous times to keep promoting white males over equally qualified women and minorities. I’m not saying that is what’s happening here, but it does occur a lot.

      What can also happen is there is a subconsious bias because a lot of what counts as enough is a judgement call and so someone who “looks right” and makes the right impression is actually getting it on that, and then the resoning is built to match that.

      Keep in mind we are rationalizing creatures, not rational creatures. And we now have had 2 appointments in a row where the “final 3” just happen to be white males. Statistically this smells.

      1. But Groff has not been in elected office very long and he never faced real competition. Furthermore his presence outside of Denver is extraordinarily low.

        However 2010 does give him an opportunity to look for a path that could escalate his name regination. Perhaps Attorney General. The dynamic of a campaign for that office is very different than that for US SEnate and it is one more suited to someone with lower name recognition. How many people outside of the political die-hards had ever heard of Suthers before he was elected?

      2. about Peter not even completing his Senate term.  Yes, I know he was just reelected, but he has been very ambivalent about serving in the Senate.  He really is not cut out for this, there is a lot of doing it for his father that is going on.

        I don’t believe for a minute that he actually wants this Senate seat (but might take if because of the heritage and his father, etc.)

        I like Peter, but this is not for him.

        And as they say, if you don’t have the fire in the belly you will not succeed or get reelected.

      3. Now, David, you are way too smart to think that every group in life should have an equal representation by race, gender, ethnicity, IQ, height, etc.  

        How many women WANT to get into politics?  The good news is some research a number of years ago showed that women had an equal chance of being elected as a man. If a woman chooses to run, she has the same chance as a man.

        How many minorities have the educational levels that make a good legislator or politician?  How many blacks and Hispanics wake up wanting to play the establishment game?  Some, certainly.  But not enough. I hope that many more do in the future!

        A lot of white males have done this country right, starting way back when.  We aren’t evil, wanting to control everything.  You can see the same drive for control in Latin America and Africa, too.  

        It’s OK to like yourself, David.  🙂

        1. Seriously, parsing?

          Mary Estill Buchannon, Nancy Dick, Josie Heath, Dottie Lamm, Gail Schoettler, all ran for senator or governor in Colorado.

          More than 30 years ago, Colorado had a black lieutenant governor and an Hispanic speaker of the House — the talent (and the drive) has been there for women, African Americans and Hispanic politicians for decades.

          David’s got a point — if not now, when?

          In Groff’s case, probably not yet, but David makes a valid point.

          1. The White House Project is an organization that works to get women into office.  Locally the WHP trains and supports women with workshops and the yearly Go Run, Go Lead. WHP is non-partisan.

            The number of women who want to be politicians is large.  The number who will be politicians grows once they have the opportunity to meet other women politicians.  Through the trainings and networking women learn how to win election and be leaders.

            1. In effect, the project is training women to overcome their reticence to pursue politics. No such training on the male side of things needed.

              I’ll bet that if you asked a thousand men and a thousand women, “Do you want to hold an elected office?” there would be many, many more men responding “Yes,” than women.  

          2. Or blacks? Or Hispanics? To find narrow or individual variations from the generalization is not a logical rebuttal.

            If I say women are short, does that mean no women are tall?

            I expect a better comment than this from you, RedGreen.  

            1. Actually, yes, Parsing. That’s exactly what such a blanket statement means and why they should be avoided, particularly in labeling individuals according to their most obvious group identification.

        2. And I agree that a lot of it is who gets into the fight. But I’ve also seen a boatload of cases where people use rationalizations to say someone is not quite ready yet or is not “the best” candidate. And it adds up to, time after time, selecting a white male.

          And even if you’re right that women do equally well in an election, it does not mean they do equally well in an appointment.

          1. I was just making a snark about seeming self-loathing being a white male.

            I’ll never vote for someone because that person is female or black or Hispanic or disabled.  I vote for who I think is the best person for the office.  Their ID is secondary and it just comes along with the person.

            If white men keep getting elected, it’s not that they are inherently evil and try to keep others out.  They just know how to get elected. And yes, part of that IS the Good Ole Boy system, which comes along with power.  The GOBS exists in every culture, every nation, only the faces change. It’s not a plot, it’s a natural result of being in power.  

            I hope just as much as you do that more women and minorities make it to the seats of power.  I just don’t see a white male sitting there as a sign of something being wrong.  

            1. I should have included this in the above post.

              Make no mistake, when there are a lot of women in power, there will be a GOGS.  In fact, I saw it where I last worked.  The number of lesbians in management was disproportionate to the general population. Like hires like.  And no, I had no problem with that.  

              I just know that SOMEone here will find my observation shocking and sexist.  Sorry, thems the facts.  

              1. I doubt that anyone finds anything you say on the subject of race, gender or sexual orientation “shocking”.  Not if they’ve been reading your posts for very long.

                Clearly you feel very defensive about your white heterosexual maleness. You shouldn’t. All in all, it’s still more of a plus than a minus. White males still predominate among those who run things. Relax. Enjoy.

  6. He seems like a fairly weak leader, to be honest. All talk no action.

    How Denver-centric could this site possibly be? Outside of Ed Perlmutter, who lives 10 minutes from LoDo, is there anyone on the so-called “favorites list” discussed here who doesn’t live downtown? Believe me, there are others under consideration. J Salazar is right in the thick of it — assuming he wants it — but his supporters are not necessarily bloggers …

  7. Apparently former Sen. Baca put her name forward yesterday (was in the Daily Camera today). The first person to say “Polly who?” reveals him or herself as completely clueless about Colorado Dem politics. Sen. Baca is one of the two or three most important names in Latino politics in the state, after the Salazars. She’s a real possibility. Represented Adams county, a swing area.

    1. She hasn’t been in the legislature for what, 20 years?  And isn’t she like 65?  That’s reasonably old for a first-time senator.  If Ritter wants a placeholder, fine…but if she were to run in 2 years, hmmm…

      Oh, then there’s the fact that she entirely places the fact that she lost a congressional election b/c she’s a hispanic woman.  Whether it’s true or not, it doesn’t make a great story that will no doubt be talked about…

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