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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

CO-Gov: Choosing on Choice in Democratic Primary

Posted by Bob Brigham

Denver Post:

In case of a Democratic primary, many have pledged to work against former Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter, a Catholic who opposes abortion rights. [...]

Schoettler says a network of Coloradans dedicated to electing women to top political seats will be eager to cut checks should [state Senate President Joan] Fitz-Gerald enter the race.

"A lot of us have a lot of energy that we're willing to put into electing Sen. Fitz-Gerald," said Meg Froelich, a board member of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado.

In Washington, the well-heeled EMILY's List - a national group that funds female candidates who champion abortion rights - also is eyeing a possible Fitz-Gerald candidacy.

"We're watching the Colorado race with a great deal of enthusiasm," said spokeswoman Ramona Oliver. "If Joan, a pro-choice Democrat, decides to get in, we'll seriously consider getting involved."

This is going to be a huge race in 2006 and the overwhelming interest in the Democratic primary shows the consensus view that the general election will be the Democrats to lose.

There seems to be good deal of institutional excitment around the Fitz-Gerald option, the unions are also on board:

"If Joan ran, it would energize labor and we would bust our humps to get her elected," said Colorado AFL-CIO president Steve Adams. [...]

Labor groups' money and activism are credited largely for the Democratic takeover of both legislative chambers in 2004. Union brass are looking for a gubernatorial candidate to back next year.

Mitch Ackerman, president of Colorado's 5,000-member Local 105 of the Service Employees International Union, lauded Fitz-Gerald's record for "working people" in the state. Specifically, he cited her work this year on a bill to lower the cost of prescription drugs.

"Our members appreciate her efforts and know she'd keep working on their behalf as governor," he said.

Mark Schwane, executive director of the 2,000-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, credits Fitz-Gerald for championing higher wages and better health care for state workers.

"There's been a lot of talk about her candidacy. Our members would support her if she made the decision to run," he said.

When Congressman Mark Udall decided to focus on building a 2008 senate campaign, it looked like it would be a wide open primary. But in the last month and a half, it appears that a consensus has started to form around Fitz-Gerald.

We're still waiting to hear if venture capitalist Rutt Bridges or Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper get in, but it sounds like people have agreed not to choose Bill Ritter.

On the Republican side, University of Denver President Marc Holtzman is running and we're keeping an eye on Colorado Treasurer Mike Coffman, Congressman Bob Beauprez and former Congressman Scott McInnis.

Posted at 03:17 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Colorado | Technorati