Eagle Co. rep Gibbs seeks Senate promotion | VailDaily.com

Eagle Co. rep Gibbs seeks Senate promotion

Nicole Formosa
Summit County Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado ” Rep. Dan Gibbs, Eagle County’s Democratic state representative, said he has thrown his hat in the ring to succeed Colorado Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, who resigned Tuesday for focus on her run for Congress.

“It’s a unique opportunity that doesn’t come up often and it would give me the opportunity serve more people in Colorado,” said Gibbs, who formerly manned U.S. Rep. Mark Udall’s Minturn office.

The legislative vacancy committee, made up of 42 legislators including Gibbs, has 10 days to appoint someone to fill Fitz-Gerald’s seat, which represents Grand, Clear Creek, Gilpin and parts of Boulder and Jefferson counties.

If the committee fails to make an appointment within that time, the governor will make the call, Gibbs said.

Frisco-based political consultant David Cunningham said Gibbs has a good shot at winning the seat with his experience as a Udall staffer and a year under his belt in the House.

“Now that he’s not just a freshman he can go to the Senate and have more of impact,” Cunningham said, noting Gibbs’ work to secure $1 million in state money to battle the mountain pine beetle.

“… He typifies what a great representative for our area would do and has done and there’s no question in my mind that Dan could represent us really, really well here in Summit County (in the Senate).”

Gibbs said he will seek re-election in the House if he is unsuccessful in his Senate bid.

Immediately following Fitz-Gerald’s resignation, the Senate appointed Sen. Peter

Groff, D-Denver, as Senate President, making him the first African-American to hold that position. Fitz-Gerald was the first woman to become president of the Colorado Senate in January 2005.

Cunningham said Fitz-Gerald made the right choice to resign, given her bid for Congress.

“When you’re running for U.S. Congress and also trying to balance getting business for the state of Colorado done, you really can’t do both justice,” he said.

Fitz-Gerald is seeking to replace Udall as Eagle County’s representative in Congress. Udall is leaving his post to run for Senate.

Fitz-Gerald is running against former state Board of Education member Jared Polis and conservationist Will Shafroth in the Democratic primary.

Fitz-Gerald said she would’ve been restricted on fundraising for her Congress race if she was still serving in the state Senate.

“I certainly could not run this race and not raise money for five months,” she said.

Fitz-Gerald raised $387,598 in the third quarter. The multimillionaire Polis took in $368,761 during the third quarter, while Shafroth reported $208,259.

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