Hickenlooper’s out … is Gary still in? | VailDaily.com

Hickenlooper’s out … is Gary still in?

Duffy Hayes
Gary Lindstrom's campaign for governor has earned more attention since Denver's mayor decided not to run.

BRECKENRIDGE – The field of folks seeking the Democratic nomination for governor isn’t exactly crowded – at least for now.Monday, popular Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper opted out of the race, leaving only Breckenridge resident Gary Lindstrom, a state representative whose district includes Eagle County, and former Denver D.A. Bill Ritter to duke it out in the Democratic primary before November’s gubernatorial election.

“My phone’s been ringing off the wall,” Lindstrom said Tuesday, in the aftermath of Hickenlooper’s decision not to run. “It’s like all of the sudden, I’ve been discovered.”Lindstrom is the underdog in the race for the Democratic nomination for the state’s top job. Ritter would seem to be winning the fight so far on points – he’s raised more than $680,000 through year’s end, announced a running mate and hired a full-time election staff.Lindstrom said he is running a grassroots campaign, soliciting small donations, and lying low while the field shakes itself out. He’s raised around $10,000, he estimates, and hasn’t yet hired any election staff.Lindstrom thought the media and political watchers were waiting for Hickenlooper to decide to run, and then “they could ignore me totally,” he said.

“But now that Hickenlooper’s announced that he’s not running, people are asking, ‘Who’ve we got out there?'” Lindstrom said.Lindstrom reports that his campaign has gotten a shot in the arm. Both the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News had photographers following him around the State Capitol Tuesday, he said.Swirling in the political ether still is the question of who might yet join the smallish Democratic field, to fill a perceived vacuum. Earlier this year, House Speaker Andrew Romanoff announced he would not run, and he swiftly threw his backing behind Ritter’s campaign.

The loudest rumors Tuesday were about House majority leader Alice Madden joining the fray. That decision will likely have a bigger impact on Lindstrom’s decision to stay in the race, rather than Hickenlooper’s decision not to run.”If (Madden) announces, then it will probably put me back to where I was before. She’ll be the lead liberal Democrat running,” Lindstrom said, referring to similarities between their two platforms.”I’ll have to think about it if and when she decides to run,” Lindstrom added. “I’ve told her that if she runs a serious campaign, then I would think seriously about withdrawing and supporting her. She’s a neat lady, and she’s got her head screwed on right.”Vail, Colorado

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