Election 2018News

Democrat Noel Ginsburg drops bid for Colorado governor

Author: Erin Prater and Ernest Luning - March 20, 2018 - Updated: March 21, 2018

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Colorado gubernatorial candidate Noel Ginsburg. (Photo courtesy of Ginsburg via Twitter)

DENVER — Democrat Noel Ginsburg on Tuesday dropped out of Colorado’s gubernatorial race, citing his underwhelming performance at precinct caucuses earlier this month.

“When I made the decision to run for governor, it wasn’t the fulfillment of a lifelong goal,” Ginsburg said in a statement posted to his website Tuesday. “For me, it wasn’t about being governor that mattered; it was about making a difference. … I have come to the conclusion that, after the results of the statewide caucus, it is no longer viable for me to continue my campaign for governor and I am withdrawing from the race.”

Ginsburg received just 1.7 percent of the vote in a statewide preference poll taken at March 6 precinct caucuses. He came in behind state Sen. Mike Johnston, who received nearly 9 percent of the vote. Former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy received exactly 50 percent of the vote, besting U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, who scored 32.5 percent of the vote. (It takes the support of 30 percent of delegates at the April 14 state assembly to get on the primary ballot that route.)

In February he told Colorado Politics he planned to secure a spot in the primary by going through the caucus and assembly process in addition to gathering petition signatures. He said he was responding to a “constant drumbeat of demand” from party activists and officials who were uncomfortable with Polis, Kennedy and “uncommitted” being the only options at caucuses.

Nominating petitions are due Tuesday to the secretary of state’s office. Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, a fifth Democrat running for governor, turned hers in Monday. Polis turned in petitions last week, and Johnston learned the petitions he submitted in February had enough signatures to land him a spot on the June 26 primary ballot.

Ginsburg is the founder and CEO of Denver-based Intertech Plastics Inc., which makes a variety of plastic products, including the ubiquitous Koala Baby Changing Stations and buckets restaurants use to transport mayonnaise and tartar sauce. He’s also the founding executive chairman of CareerWise Colorado, an apprenticeship program that’s rolling out across the state.

After Ginsburg announced he was ending his campaign, his primary rivals praised his work promoting education and his role launching CareerWise.

“It has been an honor being on the campaign trail with Noel Ginsburg,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I admire his integrity and know that Colorado will continue to benefit from his leadership. CareerWise, the innovative youth apprenticeship program Noel built and championed, is a model for the nation. I look forward to working closely with Noel to learn more and build on its success.”

“Noel’s willingness to give so much of his time to making a difference in Colorado is inspiring — an example for all of us,” Johnston said in a statement. “As the campaign carries on, I will continue to focus the debate on topics important to Noel, like the need for a lifelong education and an expansion of opportunities for our growing number of high school graduates. I look forward to working with Noel in service of the residents of Colorado, a state we both love, for a long time to come.”

“I have tremendous respect for Noel’s experiences as a community leader and businessman. He brought common-sense solutions for Colorado as part of his campaign and I think that’s what voters want to hear from a candidate. I look forward to continuing to work with Noel, especially to support his CareerWise initiative,” Lynne said in a statement.

“As he has done throughout his career, Noel brought much-needed attention to issues like closing the skills gap, providing equal pay for equal work, and expanding career opportunities for Coloradans from all backgrounds,” Polis said in a Facebook post. “Through his work with CareerWise Colorado, Noel is personally helping thousands of young Coloradans reach their full potential, and I look forward to partnering with him to help even more students in Colorado gain meaningful work experience and skills. He should be proud of the campaign he ran, and proud of his continued service to our state.”

Ken Toltz, the founder and co-chair of gun-control advocates Safe Campus Colorado and a former Democratic congressional candidate, said he’s known Ginsburg for more than 40 year and admires his friend’s ability to identify “realistic solutions to the challenges facing Coloradans.”

“Noel clearly added a much needed perspective of a businessman/entrepreneur, which is something our divisive ideological political atmosphere sorely needs,” Toltz told Colorado Politics in an email.

Erin Prater and Ernest Luning