gubernatorial race Archives - Colorado Politics
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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusAugust 15, 20176min2311
Donna Lynne
Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne (Photo by Nicole Cassou/The Colorado Statesman file photo)

If Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne isn’t yet running for governor on the Democratic ticket, it’s sure hard to tell from her fundraising emails and candidate committee.

The lieutenant governor and chief operating officer for the state announced earlier this month that she is “actively” exploring a run for governor. It appears now that she is likely to formally jump into the race within the next few weeks, Colorado Politics has learned.

Colorado Politics was the first to extensively interview Lynne on the subject in a story that appeared last month.

On Aug. 1, Lynne established a candidate committee with the secretary of state’s office called “Lynne for Colorado.” Her first financial filings are due on Oct. 16, and she has been actively raising money since her “exploratory” announcement.

A fundraising email from Lynne dated Aug. 10 states, “Running for governor is not something I can do alone, and with your help I know we’ll be successful. Please consider contributing whatever you can today to make sure we get off to a strong start.”

For a potential candidate who has only declared that she is “exploring” a run for governor, the fundraising email and candidate committee makes it seem like she’s leaning in the direction of establishing a formal campaign.

Lynne, 63, has served as lieutenant governor since May 2016.

Since being sworn in as Colorado’s lieutenant governor, Lynne has taken the reins on health care and state operational efficiencies under Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is term-limited after next year.

In another sign that Lynne is taking her potential candidacy seriously, the news release announcing her exploratory effort includes a comment from Hickenlooper.

“Lt. Gov. and Chief Operating Officer Donna Lynne is one of the most talented people I have ever worked with,” Hickenlooper said. “Her long record of exemplary success, both in business and in public service, more than earns her the right to run for governor. Colorado is fortunate to have someone with Donna’s dedication and tenacity who wants to lead our state.”

The popular governor’s public support for Lynne is a boon to her campaign as she prepares to compete in a competitive primary.

The race includes U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, former state Sen. Mike Johnston, former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy and Denver civics leader Noel Ginsburg. U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter dropped out of the race last month after just three months of campaigning.

Lynne could bring a more moderate approach to the race. Having served as the chairwoman of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, and given her prior work as the executive vice president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Lynne has developed many contacts in the business community.

The Republican field also is crowded. District Attorney George Brauchler, entrepreneur and former state Rep. Victor Mitchell and investment banker Doug Robinson, who also happens to be Mitt Romney’s nephew, are the best-known candidates.

But more high-profile Republican names are expected to enter the primary, including State Treasurer Walker Stapleton. Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is also seriously considering a run on the Republican ticket.

“It’s clear that voters in Colorado are looking for a candidate who will work to keep us moving in the right direction. As Lt. Governor and Chief Operating Officer, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to all 64 counties and meet with many Coloradans, including community leaders,” Lynne writes in the fundraising email.

“Through my travel to all four corners of this state, I’ve been inspired to think about how I can best continue to serve.”


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Peter MarcusMay 19, 20175min1421

The Colorado Democratic race for governor could get ugly.

Colorado Politics’ inbox is already filled with opposition emails that have revolved around the gubernatorial campaigns for U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter and former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy.

It started with a fundraising email. Kennedy’s opponents pointed out that a fundraising event for Kennedy gave the impression that high-profile Colorado women were supporting her campaign, though several “sponsors” hadn’t made formal endorsements.

The email for the event this month listed women such as Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, First Lady Robin Hickenlooper and Susan Daggett, the wife of U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, as sponsors for an Electing Women luncheon.

The event was organized by Electing Women, a Denver-based federal political action committee dedicated to raising money for pro-choice women running for governor and U.S. Senate seats around the country. But the fundraising email for the luncheon honoring Kennedy was paid for by “Cary Kennedy for Governor.”

There is no indication that the women on the fundraising email formally endorsed Kennedy at the time. A spokeswoman for Lynne, for example, said, “The name on the invitation is not intended and should not be viewed as an endorsement. She has not committed to supporting any individual candidate.”

Still, the fundraising event raised just under $50,000, according to the Kennedy campaign, and “sponsors” of the event didn’t appear overly upset about how the email was portrayed when asked by Colorado Politics.

Still, Kennedy opponents think the optics of the fundraising event were disingenuous by suggesting that the women had “sponsored” the event, which they believe could have been construed as a Kennedy endorsement.

Meanwhile, anonymous anti-Perlmutter emails also are landing in Colorado Politics’ inbox.

“Ed Perlmutter has missed more than twice as many votes as anyone else in the Colorado delegation this year. In fact, it’s worse than 89% of his fellow members of congress in the House,” read the anonymous email.

“This isn’t a new trend for him. His absences in congress have been a problem for years,” the anti-Perlmutter email continued.

The Perlmutter campaign, however, points out that sometimes “life takes over.” Perlmutter has been forced to grapple with his wife Nancy’s cancer and recent heart surgery for his father, who is in his 90s. The campaign estimates that about 75 votes were missed for family issues.

Perlmutter missed 242 votes out of more than 6,900 over the course of his 10 years in Congress, which puts him at about 3.5 percent of missed votes and somewhere in the middle of the pack for the Colorado congressional delegation.

“Ed loves politics,” continued the anonymous email critical of the congressman. “But it’s all for the sake of politics. His hasty announcement without a real campaign structure or any evidence that he was prepared to make this run. His scattered messaging on the stump so far. His missed votes. He didn’t want to miss a political opportunity, so he jumped at it.”

A Perlmutter spokeswoman countered, “Life sometimes has to take over, and I don’t know that Ed’s any different than anyone else where he’s had some serious family issues that he’s had to deal with.”

Back to the Kennedy fundraising email. Heather Lurie, an organizer for Electing Women, told Colorado Politics that the organization apologizes “for any confusion we have caused,” adding that the organization acknowledges “there are sensitivities,” and that it reached out to sponsors to clarify the confusion.

Lurie pointed out that the way Electing Women has been structured for the past 17 years is that it organizes events for candidates, but then it allows the candidates to do the fundraising themselves, as was the case with the paid for by “Cary Kennedy for Governor” disclosure.

Other Democrats in the race, including former state Sen. Mike Johnston and civics leader Noel Ginsburg, have so far been less targeted. As attacks intensify in the Republican gubernatorial race, Colorado Politics will follow those as well.

But if we’re seeing attacks like these so far ahead of the 2018 election, you might want to buckle your seatbelt, because this could be a bumpy ride.


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Peter MarcusApril 29, 20178min134
Three days before Christmas, Denver manufacturing entrepreneur and civic leader Noel Ginsburg announced a run for governor on the Democratic ticket. It was unusual. It seemed bizarre for a candidate to announce in the height of the holiday season, during a black hole for news coverage, and two weeks before the end of a fundraising […]

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Peter MarcusApril 19, 20176min123
Gov. John Hickenlooper doesn’t believe high-profile Republican George Brauchler has a good chance of becoming Colorado’s next governor. Colorado Politics asked Hickenlooper, a Democrat who is term-limited, about the gubernatorial race, which is already heating up ahead of next year. The governor was asked whether he would consider clemency for convicted killer Nathan Dunlap before he […]

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Peter MarcusApril 10, 20177min121
The Democratic race for governor grew again on Monday with news that former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy would enter the competition. Colorado Politics sat down with Kennedy last week ahead of her formal Monday announcement. “I grew up with brothers and sisters who didn’t have the same opportunities that I have been given, and I […]

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Peter MarcusApril 9, 20179min189
Standing with family, friends and supporters at a Natural Grocers in Golden on Sunday, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter announced a campaign to become the next governor of Colorado. “Elections are always about the future, and you and I have the ability to shape that future,” said Perlmutter, standing before a lively crowd of about 400 […]

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Peter MarcusApril 6, 20175min119
Unveiling a statewide logo on Thursday that says “Perlmutter for Colorado,” Colorado U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter says he has “an announcement” to make on Sunday. That announcement, as first reported last month by Colorado Politics, is expected to be a run for governor on the Democratic ticket. He is scheduled to speak at 1 p.m. […]

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Peter MarcusApril 5, 20178min97
Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler will compete for the Republican Party’s nomination for Colorado governor, he plans to announce Wednesday. The energetic district attorney for the state’s largest jurisdiction gained prominence for several high-profile cases, including acting as the lead prosecutor in the case against Aurora theater shooter James Holmes. Brauchler’s strong personality was highlighted during the […]

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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusFebruary 17, 20175min143
“Run, Ed, run.” “We want Ed.” Democrats have been chanting this for weeks now, encouraging U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Golden to enter the 2018 gubernatorial race. There seems to be more of a buzz surrounding the Jefferson County Democrat these days, though Perlmutter has been playing things close to the vest. A Facebook page has […]

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Mario NicolaisMario NicolaisDecember 26, 20166min1360

The political drama unfolding in North Carolina recently trumped even the transition of the new president-elect for many political junkies. An acrimonious gubernatorial election between incumbent Republican Patrick McCrory and Democrat Roy Cooper led to a nearly month-long standoff as Cooper won with a razor-thin margin. Now that acrimony has spilled into sweeping new laws passed by the outgoing Legislature before Cooper takes office. The lion’s share of media attention has been focused on the power stripped from the governor’s office, and the Democratic governor-elect, by the Republican Legislature and signed by the outgoing McCrory.