It’s probably not a great mystery to Colorado political insiders that University of Denver President Marc Holtzman is serious about a run for the state’s governorship. The dead governors at Colorado Pols [ed – for the uninitiated, the anonymous proprietor(s) of the site post under the pseudonyms of three former Colorado governors who all by a quirk of history served during the year 1905, exactly one century ago] have Holtzman ranked among the early favorites for the state’s chief executive office in 2006.
Having attended a meeting of the House Minority Caucus today, at the kind behest of Michele Austin, I now have some clear early impressions of Holtzman and his candidacy. The DU President is undoubtedly smart and savvy: he knows that to make a serious run at the Republican nomination he had to get an early start. And he has – fundraising, speaking, and strategizing. In addressing members of the House Minority Caucus, he asserted his credibility as a candidate for statewide office with some degree of effectiveness. How many will be on board remains to be seen.
Though never having held elected office, Holtzman has an impressive resume as a former executive director of the Reaganite Citizens for America, as a successful international investment banker, as Colorado’s first Secretary of Technology (appointed by Gov. Owens, he served from 1999 to 2003), and of course as a university president.
Bob has already sketched the basics of Holtzman’s electoral issues strategy.
Holtzman has a grasp of the issues and of the political playing field. His biggest challenge as a gubernatorial candidate likely will be building a grassroots coalition, the difficulty of which will depend at least partly on who comprises his competition. State Treasurer Mike Coffman is slated to run and in many ways seems Owens’ heir apparent, though he hasn’t been out campaigning as aggressively as Holtzman. Coffman has plenty of support among Colorado’s Republican grassroots activists.
We can’t forget that Colorado is a state whose party system is dominated by the caucus-assembly process, giving more weight and influence to the voices at the grassroots level. Right now, this would figure to work to Coffman’s advantage. Holtzman is working hard to overcome the handicap. And we don’t know what other candidates might get into the mix (Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton?) As to what happens, remember to bookmark Mount Virtus and the Rocky Mountain Alliance to stay informed on political developments.