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CO-Gov: Penry to exit race

Colorado state Sen. Josh Penry (R) plans to end his gubernatorial campaign and endorse former Rep. Scott McInnis (R), according to two sources familiar with his thinking.

Penry's decision to opt out of the race is a stunner as many national Republicans had touted him as a potential rising star (and we had featured him in our "Rising" series that looks at up and coming politicians).

Political chatter in the immediate aftermath of Penry's decision suggested he might be considering a run against 3rd district Rep. John Salazar (D) who won the Western Slope seat when McInnis retired in 2004. Salazar's seat is one of 49 held by Democrats that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) carried in 2008. (McCain won it 50 percent to 48 percent for President Barack Obama.) But, Republicans already have a candidate -- state Rep. Scott Tipton -- they are high on in the race.

Sources close to Penry suggested that he was heavily influenced by the victories for Republicans in New Jersey and Virginia last week -- wins due, at least in part, to the lack of competitive primaries on the Republican side.

Penry was worried that a bruising August primary would potentially compromise the eventual nominee's chances of beating Ritter. Combine that with his youth (he is 33) and his role as state Senate Minority Leader and Penry decided that dropping out of the race was the best option for him and the party.

McInnis, who spent six terms in Congress, now has a clear shot at Gov. Bill Ritter (D) next fall. Democrats have expressed serious concern about Ritter's electoral prospects and his poll numbers have lagged badly since he was elected in a landslide in 2006.

Penry was elected to the state House in 2004 and to the state Senate in 2006. Prior to his career in elected office, he had served as a staffer to McInnis in Congress -- a fact that made the potential primary all the more delicious.

McInnis beat Penry in the first race within the race, raising $545,000 to Penry's $400,000 between July 1 and September 30. Ritter collected $452,000 during that time.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 9, 2009; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Governors  
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Next: CT-Gov: Rell Won't Run Again


This is great news for Republicans. Penry is out and McInnis vs. Ritter in the GE. I think this race will be done early as McInnis is in a great shot to win now. With McInnis & Norton as the de-facto nominee's, it looks like Colorodo will be going red in 2010. As for Penry, perhaps he could run for Secretary of State. When Coffman ran for & won Tancredo's old congressional seat, he vacated the Sec. of State's office and there now is a Ritter appointment.

Posted by: reason5 | November 10, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Query: name a decision that Obama can make in less than a Present idential term?

Answer: nine iron or six?

Posted by: snowbama | November 9, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse


But, hey, there's that award-winning new bridge over the Mississippi now. So at least you got that going for you. Which is nice.

Posted by: mnteng | November 9, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

In other Gubernatorial news, long-shot hopeful for the 2012 GOP Presidential nomination Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota had hoped to start this week on a high note after having a pretty miserable week last week, according to The Fix. Instead, this week began with the Associated Press digging through some of the Governor's stale promises from earlier in his tenure. In today's story, the AP digs up a statement from an early State of the State address, in which Gov Pawlenty promised to address homelessness in Minnesota, saying it could be solved by 2010. Well, here we are on the cusp of 2010 and Minnesota's homeless rate has gone UP under Pawlenty's tenure. Of course he blames the economy & holds himself blameless on the economy. Unfortunately, the MN homeless rate has gone up faster than elsewhere in the country, undermining the governor's excuse.

Who knows what other shocking tidbits about Governor long-on-talk, short-on-action Pawlenty await?

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 9, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse


The apparent paid blog spamming that continuously targets Chris Cillizza's "Fix," with "snowbama" as the straw-man patsy of a band of frat boy- type cubicle dwellers, is truly remarkable in its scope and unremitting duration.

Congrats, Chris -- somebody thinks what goes on here is important enough to try to bury in psy ops effluvia...

Unfortunately, taxpayers may be footing the bill.

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 9, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

yeah -- nepotism and cronyism rule!

Posted by: drivl

the stopped clock phenomenon. In fact, the liberals are in power now and do "rule". I think the most famous purveyor of this is the chairman of the Ways and Means who employed his nephew to build a website at $80K a year. Two years later there was no website. however, since it was a liberal, this fell into the realm of "normal" productivity.

Posted by: snowbama | November 9, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

We're not talking about your allowance, snow globe.

Posted by: nodebris | November 9, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

yeah -- nepotism and cronyism rule!

Posted by: drindl | November 9, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing technically illegal about paying family members. It is done all the time.

Posted by: snowbama | November 9, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

CC - is announcing that every piece of news is a stunner or a complete surprise more an indication of your hyperbolic and adolescent writing style or more a sign of your ignorance of what is going on in the world?

Put down the NYTimes and read the WSJ. not only will it still be around in a few years, it actually produces propoganda-free information.

Posted by: snowbama | November 9, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

McInnis paid his wife out of campaign funds even though he was retiring from office. The FEC investigation was dismissed but I wouldn't be suprised to see this come back up again if this race gets dirty.

I wonder if there is something going on behind the scenes??? CC, get us the dirt.

Posted by: AndyR3 | November 9, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

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