U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter supporters defend congressman’s decision to run for re-election

Author: Peter Marcus - August 22, 2017 - Updated: August 22, 2017

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, an Arvada Democrat, announces he's running for governor of Colorado in the 2018 election alongside his wife, Nancy, on Sunday, April 9, 2017, at the Natural Grocers store in Golden. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, an Arvada Democrat, announces he’s running for governor of Colorado in the 2018 election alongside his wife, Nancy, on Sunday, April 9, 2017, at the Natural Grocers store in Golden. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

Supporters of U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter are standing by the candidate despite the clear disruption his decision to run for re-election has brought to the Democratic primary.

Perlmutter on Monday officially announced that he would run for re-election in the 7th Congressional District, after Colorado Politics reported on Aug. 11 that he was reconsidering the race.

Perlmutter had said he would not run for re-election so that he could pursue a run for governor. After dropping out of the governor’s race just three months in, Perlmutter said that he would still not run for re-election. But he received pressure from inside and outside of Colorado to reconsider.

The news came as a shock to four Democratic candidates already in the race, including state Sens. Andy Kerr of Lakewood and Dominick Moreno of Commerce City, state Rep. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood and former Obama administration ambassador Dan Baer of Arvada.

Pettersen, Kerr, and Moreno raised a combined $358,000 in their first financial reporting periods, and more money has been raised since those numbers were reported at the end of the last quarter. Baer recently told Colorado Politics that he raised more than $300,000 in just two weeks.

Campaigns announced a lull in fundraising after news broke that Perlmutter was reconsidering the seat. Donors wanted to wait to see what his final decision would be. With a formal re-election campaign planned, Perlmutter has the ability to clear the field.

Moreno quickly announced that he would drop out of the race and support Perlmutter. Pettersen later announced that she was dropping out of the race. Kerr and Baer are weighing their options.

State Sen. Cheri Jahn, D-Wheat Ridge, who sits in the seat Perlmutter once occupied in the statehouse, said Perlmutter represents the best chance of holding onto the district for Democrats.

“I’ve always been a very strong Perlmutter supporter, and the reason being is he is so real,” Jahn said. “He says what he means and he means what he says.”

Jahn said the only reason Perlmutter first said he would not run for re-election was because of his initial desire to run for governor, but that it is totally fair for him to reconsider.

“That’s what races are all about, that’s politics, that’s what happens,” Jahn said. “I’m thrilled that he’s back in.”

Former state Sen. Greg Brophy, a Republican from Wray, also supported Perlmutter in his decision to run for re-election. Brophy, now a lobbyist, believes Perlmutter has the seniority to push critical Colorado issues over the finish line in Congress.

“It’s good for Colorado because of his seniority on Financial Services. If we’re ever going to get equitable tax and banking treatment for our legal Colorado marijuana businesses, we need as much seniority as possible on Financial Services,” Brophy said, referring to Perlmutter’s seat on the House Financial Services Committee.

“I know that they desperately wan to run for Congress,” Brophy said of the other four candidates. “But I still want the best for Colorado, and Ed Perlmutter is the best for Colorado. It’s a gut punch, but … all is fair in love and war and politics.”

Alan Salazar, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s chief of staff, said he was one of many voices encouraging Perlmutter to run for re-election.

“I didn’t encourage him to do anything but look at where he could make a contribution and to think twice about leaving public service altogether,” Salazar said. “I would give that same advice to anybody who I believe in and thought was a good human being.”

Peter Marcus

Peter Marcus

Peter Marcus is senior statehouse reporter for Colorado Politics. He covers the legislature and previously covered politics, the governor’s office, the legislature and Congress for The Durango Herald. He joined The Herald in 2014 from The Colorado Statesman, a Denver-based political weekly. The Washington Post twice named Marcus one of the nation’s top state-based political and legislative reporters.