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Ernest LuningErnest LuningSeptember 14, 20175min3740

Two Lakewood Republicans are considering whether to challenge U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter's bid for a seventh term in the 7th Congressional District, Colorado Politics has learned. Jerry Natividad, who mounted a brief campaign last year for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Michael Bennet, and Mark Barrington, who has run for legislative and city council seats, both said they're thinking about running for the seat — particularly after Perlmutter said in April he was running for governor and wouldn't seek reelection, then dropped from the gubernatorial field in July and then declared in August he was back in the congressional race.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirAugust 23, 20174min670

Perhaps the final word on the surprise re-entry of U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter into the race for his own 7th Congressional District seat belongs to Colorado Pols, a divining rod for Democratic thinking and an insider source for developments in the party. Arguably, the seasoned and savvy blog is also a default mediator, of sorts, among competing Democratic interests.

Hence, a post Tuesday addressing potential fallout, or at least background noise in some quarters within the party, over the veteran congressman’s seemingly fickle turnabout:

… after a period of introspection, it became clear that Perlmutter’s seniority in Congress and long record of effective leadership in this district are powerful assets that serve his constituents and the state well.

So yes, he gets to do this. As we’ve said before, it’s possible that there is no one in Colorado politics today who has the political capital to pull this kind of episode off without loss of standing besides Ed Perlmutter. His decision to run again, as painful as it is to his would-be successors through no fault of their own, is therefore one that everybody on the Democratic side of the aisle is compelled to accept.

The other candidates will all get their chances, in no small part based on their graciousness today.

“Compelled to accept,” got it? A pretty definitive statement from an influential voice that, sure, is very comfortable with Perlmutter but also is close to some of the other contenders who have now dropped out of what was going to be a competitive primary. And Pols offered this blunt assessment of the one candidate who is still in:

The only other candidate still nominally remaining the Democratic CD-7 race is Dan Baer, a former Obama administration diplomat who parachuted into the race early in August:

A spokeswoman for Baer, who said he raised more than $300,000 in the two weeks after he announced his campaign Aug. 1, said Monday that he was traveling and “given the number of twists and turns in this race so far, we don’t have any immediate response.”

Whatever, Baer. The fact is, it doesn’t matter what this locally unknown come-lately candidate says at this point. For all intents and purposes the 2018 CD-7 Democratic primary is over, and Baer will just humiliate himself if he ignores that reality.


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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusAugust 22, 20175min950

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.”


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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusAugust 16, 20176min3520

Former Obama administration U.S. Ambassador Dan Baer raised more than $300,000 in two weeks since entering the race to replace U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, Colorado Politics has learned.

The Baer campaign confirmed the impressive fundraising haul, though it said that it has not yet analyzed where the money is coming from. Baer said only a handful of donations came from phone calls, and the rest have come from email and social media efforts.

“It’s been a mix of people,” Baer told Colorado Politics on Wednesday.

The fundraising effort eclipses three other Democrats who have been running in the primary for months, including state Sens. Andy Kerr of Lakewood and Dominick Moreno of Commerce City, and state Rep. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood.

Kerr, Moreno and Pettersen combined for $358,000 in their first financial reporting periods, though more money has been raised since those numbers were reported at the end of the last quarter.

Pettersen topped the first fundraising period for the race, with more than $170,000. Her campaign said fundraising was restricted by her work in the legislature this year, with more than 80 percent of donations coming after the conclusion of the legislative session in May.

Kerr raised more than $104,000 in his first fundraising period. Kerr said 88 percent of the total he raised was accomplished after the legislative session ended in May.

Moreno, who had just five weeks left in the fundraising quarter since jumping into the race at the end of May, raised nearly $85,000.

The three campaigns highlighted that much of their money came from individual donors within Colorado. Supporters of Kerr, Moreno and Pettersen have privately commented that Baer benefits from a wealthy national network.

“I am not independently wealthy,” Baer responded.

A Colorado native who previously served as a U.S. ambassador under President Obama, Baer moved to Arvada after President Trump took office.

Much of the fundraising efforts in the 7th Congressional District for Democrats has been hampered by recent news that Perlmutter is reconsidering whether to run for re-election. Some financial supporters are withholding donations as they wait to see what Perlmutter will do.

A $300,000 start in just two weeks offers Baer a bit of comfort. He must still battle name recognition in Jefferson and Adams counties.

The Republican field for the seat is still developing, though no competitive candidates have yet entered the race, despite the somewhat politically mixed nature of the district.

Baer said his campaign launch video – a “bootstrap” effort, as he described it – helped kickoff fundraising efforts. The video features his work as an ambassador, taking a tough stance on Russia, while also fighting for people to “pursue happiness.”

Born in Denver, Baer grew up in the western suburbs of the city. Before serving as a U.S. ambassador – which began in 2013 – Baer advised corporations and nonprofits as a project leader at the Boston Consulting Group.

He also taught business ethics during the financial crisis, and served in the State Department during the Obama Administration.

Obama tapped Baer to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, where he was responsible for implementation of arms control agreements, addressing international conflicts, and working on human rights issues.

Baer, a 40-year-old candidate, is married to Brian Walsh, an environmental economist who advises the World Bank.

Baer said he was “stunned by the response” to his campaign launch video and social media efforts. A former professor at Georgetown University, the Democrat said he has seen contributions from former students, from colleagues he worked with at the State Department, and from other colleagues “who saw me in action in the Obama administration.”

“It’s been both within Colorado and across the country, I’ve been really touched,” Baer said of the contributions.

Shad Murib, campaign manager for Kerr, responded, “We look forward to seeing how many of his donors are from the district or the state of Colorado.”

The Moreno and Pettersen campaigns declined to comment.

When asked about the impressive fundraising haul, Baer said, “Money is necessary but not sufficient to run a good campaign.”

He added, “We have to make democracy deliver. I believe that the first step in solving problems, or the first step in addressing problems, is understanding them… I think it is right and proper that I spend several months listening before I start opining on situations. I am focused on spending as many hours of every day as I can either listening to voters or making sure that I’ll have the resources in place.

“The other thing that people have told me, ‘The only way you can win as an outsider in Colorado is if you’re able to self-fund.’ What I have asked people to do so far is invest in this campaign and invest in a different approach to the moment that we’re in.”


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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusAugust 16, 20174min850
State Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, left, listens to a constituent at a town hall meeting sponsored by Lakewood legislators on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, at the Lakewood Cultural Center. On Thursday, June 22, 2017, national fundraising group Emily's List endorsed Petterson in Colorado's 7th Congressional District primary. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)
State Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, left, listens to a constituent at a town hall meeting sponsored by Lakewood legislators on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, at the Lakewood Cultural Center.  (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

State Rep. Brittany Pettersen – one of four Democratic candidates seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter – announced a long list of endorsements on Tuesday.

The announcement comes as Colorado Politics reported that Perlmutter is reconsidering running for the 7th Congressional District seat.

Perlmutter – who was first running for governor but then dropped his bid – had said that he wouldn’t run for re-election. But Colorado Politics learned that he is reconsidering that decision.

Endorsements for Pettersen include former Lt. Gov. and at-large Denver School Board member Barbara O’Brien, Denver District Attorney Beth McCann, former U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, former House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, and former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, to name a few.

The news release announcing the endorsements includes 26 supporters.

“In a time when many Coloradans are feeling uncertain and left behind, we are coming together to support Brittany Pettersen for Congress because she knows first-hand the challenges facing Colorado families and what it takes to overcome those obstacles,” the news release states for the Lakewood Democrat.

“Brittany is running for Congress because Colorado families who already have it tough are under assault by President Trump and a dysfunctional Congress who are threatening the lifelines families need to create better lives for themselves.”

Also running in the race are state Sens. Andy Kerr of Lakewood and Dominick Moreno of Commerce City. Former Obama-era U.S. ambassador Dan Baer is also running in the primary.

If Perlmutter chooses to run for re-election, his announcement could clear the field after the candidates raised a collective $358,000 in their first financial reporting periods, and considerable more money has been raised since those numbers were reported at the end of the last quarter.

Baer – who entered the race earlier this month – is rumored to have already collected a large haul from supporters.

The candidates have committed to staying in the race, at least until they hear directly from Perlmutter on his intentions.

“Brittany Pettersen is a leader who has earned our support because we need someone who won’t back down and won’t stop fighting to make the lives of Coloradans better,” the news release continues. “Whether it’s quality education for all students, good paying jobs in our communities, or access to quality, affordable healthcare, Brittany will ensure that regular people have a voice in Congress.”


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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusAugust 15, 20175min1330

News reported by Colorado Politics on Friday that U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter is reconsidering a run for re-election has sent a ripple across the state’s political world.

Four Democrats already in the 7th Congressional District primary race scrambed in the aftermath of the story, just as their fundraising efforts were starting to kick into a higher gear.

State Sens. Andy Kerr of Lakewood and Dominick Moreno of Commerce City, along with state Rep. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood, are answering questions about the viability of their campaigns in the wake of the news, according to sources close to the campaigns.

The three candidates have already raised a collective $358,000 in their first financial reporting periods, and considerable more money has been raised since those numbers were reported at the end of the last quarter.

Also running in the race is former Obama-era U.S. ambassador Dan Baer, who announced his candidacy this month.

Supporters of the candidates and the campaigns themselves have found themselves confused as they attempt to understand Perlmutter’s motivations.

Colorado Politics confirmed from multiple sources – including those in Perlmutter’s inner circle – that the six-term congressman from Arvada is considering a re-election bid, even after he publicly announced that he would not run for the seat again. Perlmutter announced that he would not run for re-election after dropping out of the governor’s race just three months after entering the contest.

“I really respect Congressman Perlmutter and the work he’s done to represent the 7th Congressional District, but this move is out of character for him, and I think there are already great candidates that would do a great job of representing our values in Washington,” said Jenny Willford, executive director of Emerge Colorado, which supports women running for elected office.

“Every single one of those candidates has made life and career decisions in order to run because Congressman Perlmutter gave him their word that he wasn’t running.”

Perlmutter’s decision to reconsider a run for re-election came after pressure from constituents and fellow members of Congress encouraged him to do so. But some feel a decision to run for the seat would be unfair given the momentum already behind existing candidates.

“This has the potential to create a domino effect on the ballot for other candidates who are now running for the seats,” Willford said.

The candidates themselves have so far been taking a measured approach, saying they are waiting to see what Perlmutter ultimately decides before making any significant decisions.

“Ed has served Adams and Jefferson counties tremendously as our U.S. congressman for the last 10 years. He has inspired me and his decision to vacate the seat to run for governor prompted my run to fill his big shoes,” Moreno said. “I care only that our neighbors have the best possible representation in Washington. I am confident that I will represent the 7th Congressional District well, and until Ed comes to a decision, our campaign will continue to press forward.”

Pettersen similarly said that she is going to continue to raise money and convince voters  that she is the right choice for the seat until she hears from Perlmutter directly.

Kerr’s campaign declined to comment when asked by Colorado Politics.

Perlmutter has reached out to many of the Democrats in the primary, and at least one candidate confirmed that Perlmutter was hoping to discuss his thoughts on running for re-election, which Perlmutter told the candidate was inspired by pressure to run again.

Much of the pressure came last Tuesday at a kick-off event to launch the re-election campaigns of several Jefferson County Board of Education members. Two other 7th Congressional District Democratic campaigns confirmed contact with Perlmutter, though they could not say why Perlmutter wanted to speak with them.

“This race represents an opportunity to send another woman to Congress, which is more important than ever,” Willford said. “Research shows us that women govern different than men do in important ways and they tend to be more collaborative and bipartisan.”