Perlmutter-Hands.jpg

Peter MarcusPeter MarcusAugust 11, 20176min1843

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter may not have “fire in the belly” to run for governor, but he has not ruled out running for re-election to Congress, Colorado Politics has learned.

Multiple sources confirmed that after Perlmutter was approached by constituents and fellow colleagues in Congress about a re-election campaign, he began reconsidering running for re-election. Sources could not speak on the record, as they were not at liberty to discuss the details of Perlmutter’s thoughts.

A re-election campaign would come after Perlmutter, a Democrat from Arvada who represents the 7th Congressional District in Jefferson and Adams counties, declared that he would not pursue the seat again.

Several Democrats have been running to replace Perlmutter in a tightly contested primary, including state Sens. Andy Kerr of Lakewood and Dominick Moreno of Commerce City, and state Rep. Brittany Pettersen, also of Lakewood. Also running in the race is former Obama-era U.S. ambassador Dan Baer.

A re-election bid by the popular Perlmutter could cripple those campaigns.

Republicans have yet to present a formidable candidate to win in the district that is dominated by unaffiliated voters.

The Democratic primary candidates have begun fundraising efforts, with Pettersen leading the pack with more than $170,000 in her first quarter. Kerr raised more than $104,000 in his first quarter, and Moreno raised more than $84,000 in just five weeks since he announced his campaign at the end of May.

If Perlmutter chooses to run for re-election, it would mark the continuation of a bizarre series of twists and turns for the congressman after he dropped out of the race for governor last month, just three months after first announcing his candidacy. He was considered to be the front-runner in the race. Perlmutter bowed out just before reporting close to $340,000 in campaign contributions in his first filing period with the state.

Perlmutter acknowledged that the landscape changed in the crowded Democratic primary for governor when U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder entered the race last month. Polis, a 42-year-old millionaire, has the ability to self-fund and raise money from a liberal base of the party.

Also running in the gubernatorial race is former state Sen. Mike Johnston of Denver, former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy of Denver and Denver civics leader Noel Ginsburg. Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne has formed an exploratory committee as she considers a run.

Some speculated that Perlmutter felt pressured to say he would not run for re-election when he dropped out of the governor’s race. In addition to saying that he had lost “fire in the belly” to run for governor, Perlmutter said the recent shooting of Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana also contributed to his decision to get out of politics.

“I know when Steve Scalise got shot, that had something to do with it,” Perlmutter said at a news conference announcing his departure from the governor’s race. “You know, I just took a good look at things.”

But after repeatedly being asked to run for re-election to Congress, Perlmutter began to reconsider the seat, sources say.

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 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.

For many Perlmutter supporters, the six-term congressman was leaving politics with a whimper instead of a bang. Despite many in the Democratic Party feeling that he was their best path forward in the gubernatorial race, Perlmutter still dropped out. There were tears in some of his supporters’ eyes as he also announced that he would not run for re-election to Congress.

Sources close to Perlmutter say that in “almost every conversation that he has,” someone is asking him to run for re-election. In the meantime, while he reconsiders a re-election bid, sources close to Perlmutter say he is “recharging.”


eSIKEUYi_400x400.jpg

Peter MarcusPeter MarcusAugust 9, 20174min1520

Colorado’s race to replace Democrat Ed Perlmutter in the 7th Congressional District grew by one more in the past week.

Dan Baer, a Colorado native who previously served as a U.S. ambassador under President Obama, has joined three other Democrats in the competitive primary.

“We’re at a pivotal moment. We need bold new ideas and a commitment to stand up for our Colorado values,” Baer said in a statement. “Working together, we can put our communities and our country on a path toward success in the 21st century.”

A news release announcing his campaign said that Obama appointed him to “promote American values abroad.”

He joins state Sen. Andy Kerr and state Rep. Brittany Pettersen, both from Lakewood, and state Sen. Dominick Moreno, from Commerce City.

The seat is open after Perlmutter announced that he would not run for re-election. Perlmutter was initially pursuing a run for governor, but he dropped that bid.

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.

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, according to the news release announcing his campaign.

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.

“Dan daily maintained the delicate balance of holding the Russian government accountable for invading Ukraine and committing human rights violations against its own citizens, while also working with Russia – and with 55 other OSCE countries – on issues of vital importance to our national security,” the news release states.

After leaving the Obama Administration, Baer, a 40-year-old gay candidate, and his husband, Brian Walsh – an environmental economist who advises the World Bank – moved back to Colorado.

“We’re in a tough moment right now, but if Coloradans work together, there’s nothing we can’t achieve,” Baer said.

He said he will place a focus on not getting “trapped in deadlocked disagreements and instead seize the opportunity to search for common ground and to craft a future that will be better for all of us.”

“As tough as things are, I’m an optimist,” Baer said. “I believe in the power of Colorado common sense, and I believe that we can make our democracy work for everyone.”


Andy-Kerr-Civic-Center.jpg

Peter MarcusPeter MarcusJuly 14, 20174min860
State Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, addresses a rally in support of public education on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, at Denver's Civic Center Park. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)
State Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, addresses a rally in support of public education on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, at Denver’s Civic Center Park. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

Colorado State Sen. Andy Kerr, a Democrat hoping to replace U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter in Colorado’s 7th Congressional District, will report raising more than $104,000 in his first fundraising period, Colorado Politics has learned.

The campaign says fundraising was driven by grassroots and in-state donations, with 536 donors. More than 85 percent came from within Colorado. Almost three-fourths of the donations were under $100, according to the campaign.

Kerr, from Lakewood, jumped into the race after Perlmutter, a Democrat, announced that he would run for governor. Perlmutter this week bowed out of the gubernatorial race, through he said he would not run for re-election to Congress.

Kerr is one of three Democrats in Jefferson and Adams counties running in next year’s primary.

“I’m pleased with where we are, and we met our goals for this early stage of the campaign,” Kerr said in a statement. “I’m especially proud of the number of small donations – we are a grassroots campaign that represents the working families of Jefferson and Adams counties. I’m a teacher, not a D.C. insider, and most of my contributions reflect that. I’m happy that our support comes from the community I’ll represent.”

Kerr pointed to his roots as a public school teacher.

“I support Andy because I’ve known him for a long time and I know he will fight for kids and families like ours in Washington, D.C.,” said former Jefferson County School Board Chair Lesley Dahlkemper. “His work ethic, his dedication to this community, and his belief in public service, means Andy Kerr is the person we want representing us in Congress – because his values reflect our values.”

Reports are due to the Federal Election Commission by July 15. Kerr’s detailed campaign finance report was not yet available.

The other two Democrats running for the seat are Rep. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood and Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City.

Pettersen earlier this week reported raising more than $170,000 in her first fundraising period. 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.

Moreno earlier on Friday reported raising nearly $85,000 in his first fundraising period. Moreno announced his campaign at the end of May and had just five weeks left in the fundraising quarter.

Kerr said 88 percent of the total he raised was accomplished after the legislative session ended in May.

The Republican field for the 7th Congressional District is still shaping up. While the district favors Democrats, there is a large amount of unaffiliated voters that could hand the right Republican candidate a win.


DSC_5245-1024x683.jpg

Peter MarcusPeter MarcusJuly 14, 20174min830
Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City.

Colorado State Sen. Dominick Moreno, a Democrat hoping to replace U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter in Colorado’s 7th Congressional District, will report raising nearly $85,000 in his first fundraising period, Colorado Politics has learned.

Moreno, who announced his campaign at the end of May and had just five weeks left in the fundraising quarter, received financial support from over 380 individuals with an average donation amount below $225.

Moreno, from Commerce City, jumped into the race after Perlmutter, a Democrat, announced that he would run for governor. Perlmutter this week bowed out of the gubernatorial race, through he said he would not run for re-election to Congress.

Moreno is one of three Democrats in Jefferson and Adams counties running in next year’s primary.

“The momentum behind our campaign has been tremendous,” Moreno said in a statement. “Our strong start will allow me to continue sharing our message with the hard-working people of Adams and Jefferson counties. Congress needs to know that we — everyday folks who just want government to work again — are still worth fighting for.”

John Salsbury, a Moreno campaign consultant, called the fundraising impressive, given the short time Moreno had to raise money in the remainder of the quarter.

“This shows Dominick’s campaign has momentum and a message that is resonating with the people of Colorado’s 7th Congressional District,” Salsbury said. “We have a long road ahead and Dom is determined to not settle for politics as usual.”

Reports are due to the Federal Election Commission by July 15. Moreno’s detailed campaign finance report was not yet available.

The other two Democrats running for the seat are Rep. Brittany Pettersen and Sen. Andy Kerr, who are both from Lakewood.

Pettersen earlier this week reported raising more than $170,000 in her first fundraising period. 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’s campaign had not filed his report or released his fundraising totals by early Friday afternoon.

The Republican field for the 7th Congressional District is still shaping up. While the district favors Democrats, there is a large amount of unaffiliated voters that could hand the right Republican candidate a win.


Silvettersen-Wedding-T.jpg

Ernest LuningErnest LuningJuly 1, 20176min3310

State Rep. Brittany Pettersen, a Democratic candidate for Congress, and Ian Silverii, executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, both of Lakewood, were married on Saturday, July 1, in a ceremony in the carriage house and garden at the Governor's Residence at Boettcher Mansion in Denver in front of hundreds of friends and family members. The bride is the daughter of Brent and Stacy Pettersen of Englewood. The groom is the son of Ed and Terry Silverii of East Brunswick, New Jersey.