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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Colorado Guv Opts Out

Colorado Guv Opts Out

First term Democrat Governor Bill Ritter surprises supports and his Republican challenger Scott McInnis on Wednesday January 6th with this announcement:

Gov. Bill Ritter announced today he will not seek re-election this November
to a second term.   

While many pundits, politicians, opponents and journalists have offers reasons why the Governor is not running in 2010, Governor Bill Ritter’s formal reason (as per his office’s press release) is as follows:

It is my family who has sacrificed the most, my wife, Jeannie, my kids, three of whom are here today. I have not found the proper balance where myfamily is concerned, and I have not made them the priority they should be.So today I'm announcing that I'm ending one of my roles. I am no longer a candidate for re-election this November.

As a recovering elected official on a 12-step plan (who served two 4 year terms on the local Durango City Council), and was involved in a 1998 state of Colorado legislative campaign, I can personally attest to the challenges of balancing political and public service with a normal family life.    

However, a number of political factors may have been in play, that weren’t mentioned in the Governor’s official press release and statement to the media.   According to the Rasmussen Reports, December 2009 polling data showed that the incumbent Democrat Governor was trailing leading Republican challenger Scott McInnis by 8%.   In additon, the GOP candidate McInnis has positive favorable vs. unfavorable ratings and leads by 7% points among the critical unaffiliated Colorado voter.

Like many Democrats nationwide these days, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter who was easily elected in 2006 finds himself trailing his chief Republican opponent in a potential 2010 match-up. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state shows former GOP Congressman Scott McInnis ahead of Ritter 48% to 40%. Four percent (4%) like some other candidate, and seven percent (7%) are undecided. 

Voters not affiliated with either party prefer McInnis to Ritter by a 46% to 39% margin.
Seventeen percent (17%) of Colorado voters have a very favorable view of the current governor, but 27% regard him very unfavorably.  McInnis is seen very favorably by 17% and very unfavorably by 12%. 

In addition, Colorado has struggled economically under the Ritter administration, and while the US economy has been weak, the public has not perceived the Democrat Governor as the leader of an economy recovery in the state.   

It has been said political considerations supercede all other considerations.    In case of Governor Ritter, with re-election prospects slipping and polling number weakening, the political reality overcame the official reasons for not running in 2010.

© Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,    

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