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Jessie Danielson makes a decision on Congress: She’ll run for state Senate, instead

Author: Joey Bunch - May 24, 2017 - Updated: July 31, 2017

A legislator widely expected to be a contender for Congress next year would, instead, prefer to govern closer to home. Rep. Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge, told Colorado Politics Wednesday that she intends to run for the state Senate next year, instead.

She will run for the Senate District 20 seat to represent eastern Jefferson County. The job is being vacated by Cheri Jahn, D-Arvada, who was elected in 2010 and faces term limits next year.

“In the Colorado Senate I am going to keep fighting for our state’s future – by empowering hard-working Coloradans who want to build secure futures for their families, see their kids go to great public schools, and know they have access to opportunity and prosperity,” Danielson said Wednesday.

So far, Republican mortgage banker Christine Jensen of Arvada is the only other candidate in the race. Jensen has served as chair of the Arvada Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee, and in 2015 was a finalist for a vacant seat in the House, which a Republican committee awarded to Lang Sias.

Danielson was elected to the House in 2014 to represent Wheat Ridge, Golden, Edgewater, Applewood, Fairmount, Mountain View and Lakeside. She has been an advocate for pay parity, veterans and older Coloradans, as well as the driving force behind last year’s push to legalize rain barrels for household use. In November Danielson was elected House speaker pro tempore by the Democratic caucus.

As word that U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter would likely run for governor next year, Danielson’s name quickly emerged as a contender for the seat, given her skill and strong Democratic political connections.

In private conversations, however, Danielson told Colorado Politics she was flattered by the consideration but didn’t have a passion to move to Washington right now, when she thought she could do a lot more at the Capitol in Denver.

Rep. Brittany Pettersen, Sen. Andy Kerr and, as of this week, Sen. Dominick Moreno have said they would compete in next year’s Democratic primary for the 7th Congressional District seat, which has been in Democratic hands since Perlmutter won it in 2006.

Danielson beat Republican Joseph DeMott in both her House races, by about 7 percent in 2014 and nearly 13 percent last year.

She grew up on a family farm near Ault on the Eastern Plains and graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder. She is the former political director and board member for NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado and is a former board chairman for Emerge Colorado, which trains Democratic women in politics, and also has served on the board of ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest liberal advocacy group.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.