GOP names for governor of Colorado emerge
DENVER, Colorado ” Republicans in Colorado are firming up plans to challenge Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter next year.
Two Western Slope Republicans ” former congressman Scott McInnis and state Sen. Josh Penry ” say they may seek the GOP nomination for governor. The two have long been considered likely candidates to challenge Ritter’s bid for a second term.
McInnis told The (Grand Junction) Daily Sentinel in Wednesday’s editions he would rather run for governor than challenge Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.
“My focus is more on the governor’s seat,” McInnis told the newspaper.
Penry says he’s considering a run and will decide after the legislative session ends.
Penry, once an aide to McInnis, said he’s gotten encouragement “from people who want new energy and fresh leadership.”
Evergreen businessman Dan Maes was the first Republican to file papers to run for governor.
Maes, a first-time candidate, told The Denver Post he is running because “I looked around the landscape and saw a void and said, ‘Someone has to step up and do this.'”
The chairman of the state Republican Party, Dick Wadhams, said either McInnis or Penry would make “terribly formidable” challengers to Ritter.
“It really is a tribute to the vast political talent of the Republican Party in western Colorado,” Wadhams said.
McInnis, 55, is a Glenwood Springs lawyer who served in the Colorado Legislature for a decade before being elected to represent the 3rd District in Congress from 1993 to 2005.
Penry, of Fruita, was elected to the Colorado House in 2004 and two years later to the state Senate, where he is minority leader.