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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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Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 21, 20176min2770

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter announced Monday morning he’s back in the race for his old seat in Congress from the 7th Congressional District. The Democrat from Arvada said in April he would run for governor but in June he said had lost the competitive fire and dropped out of that race.

The Colorado Pols website first reported Monday morning that Perlmutter would officially seek re-election, and The Denver Post first reported Perlmutter’s statement on his decision.

Colorado Politics was the first to report Perlmutter was reconsidering his earlier decision and would likely run for his seat in Congress again, and that other candidates were reconsidering, as a result.

State Sen. Dominick Moreno and state Rep. Brittany Pettersen announced Monday they are suspending their campaigns, leaving state Sen. Andy Kerr and Dan Baer in the Democratic primary. No Republicans have yet announced.

“Over the last few weeks a lot has happened, both for me and in the world. I’ve taken some time to regroup and recharge, and in so doing I’ve had many meaningful conversations with friends, neighbors, supporters and family who have encouraged me to run again,” Perlmutter said in a statement Monday morning. “I have appreciated each and every conversation. It has made me take time to reflect on the future. And I’ve come to the conclusion to run again for re-election. To ask the hardworking people of the 7th district to once again put their trust in me to be their voice in Washington. I care deeply for our state, and I love my home which is here in the 7th district.

“I’ve talked to Andy, Brittany (and) Dominick and corresponded with Dan about my decision. They are all wonderful people and I know for them and some others my decision is not convenient or well timed, for which I’m sorry. But I know I have more to do and more to give to the people of the 7th district. I understand this is not an ideal situation — I really do — but I know we can all work together to fight for our Colorado way of life.”

Moreno announced Monday morning he is dropping out of the Democratic primary and will instead back Perlmutter.

“We continue to be in great hands with Congressman Perlmutter,” Moreno said in a statement. “Thank you to the many people who supported me along this journey. My time serving our community does not end with our campaign suspending, and I remain committed to standing up for our values in the state Senate.”

Pettersen made a similar announcement Monday afternoon.

“While I’m disappointed I will not have the opportunity to serve our community in Congress, I know that the people of the 7th district will continue to be well represented by Ed Perlmutter,” Pettersen said in a statement. “I am so proud and humbled by the support of the people across Colorado who believed in me and stepped up to contribute, volunteer and support my campaign. I look forward to continuing to serve the people of this great state.”

Kerr said through a spokeswoman Monday he will be discussing the development with friends, family and supporters before making a decision “in the next day or two.”

“Ed’s been a friend, a mentor and a great public servant for the people of CD7 — including my own family,” Kerr told Colorado Politics. “I respect his decision and the wishes of the people he works so hard for.”

A campaign spokeswoman for Baer said the candidate was out of town when the news broke and didn’t have an immediate response.

“Dan jumped into this race because he believes this is a pivotal moment, when we need energetic, fresh leadership and a positive vision,” Baer spokeswoman Laura Shunk told Colorado Politics. “Dan is away for his grandmother’s 90th birthday. Given the number of twists and turns in this race so far, we don’t have any immediate response.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post has been updated with comments from Sen. Andy Kerr, Rep. Brittany Pettersen and former ambassador Dan Baer.

— Colorado Politics reporter Ernest Luning contributed to this report.


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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 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.”


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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusAugust 11, 20176min1853

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.”


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Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 6, 20178min560