Update, 11/18: Count out another one, too. Ali Hasan left a comment following my earlier speculation that included his name as a possible candidate: “Sorry Mount Virtus, but I won’t be getting into SD16 at all – I got my eyes on a different race. Honestly, Don Ytterberg ran a great campaign and he would be a terrific candidate for this race, especially since Gibbs’s 2008 win mostly came off of his 75% vote total in Summit County, which propelled his victory – a non-Summit Dem puts this race in the R column, imo.”
Last night I noted Democrat state senator Dan Gibbs’ announced decision not to seek re-election in 2010, and started the speculation about which Republicans might be enticed to step up to the plate. After all, this key seat very well could help decide which party assumes majority status in Denver’s upper chamber starting in the 2011 legislative session.
One name I touted as a potentially strong candidate, former state representative Rob Witwer, told me that he is at too important a point in the lives of his four young children to take the leap back into the legislative fray.
“There’s no way I can do two jobs, run for office and still make it to Cub Scouts, little league, birthday parties and all the other events that I want to be there for,” said Witwer. “These years will go fast, and I would love to be involved in public service again someday — but that’s a ways off.”
As a dad of two small young ones myself, I certainly can appreciate that.
On the other hand, one of the names I did float — current HD 25 Representative Cheri Gerou — is being highly touted by none other than state senate minority leader and erstwhile gubernatorial candidate Josh Penry. Gerou “would be the Democrats’ worst nightmare,” Penry said.
Penry defined the key issues for voters in the district that could help open the door for a Republican pickup. “If voters approve of the Ritter economy and toll roads on I 70, then we won’t have a chance,” he said. “My guess is voters will see it differently.”
One Republican who has been approached a lot about throwing his hat in to the SD 16 race — and well before Senator Gibbs’ announcement — is businessman and current gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes.
But it’s not in the picture. “I have an enormous desire to serve all the people of Colorado as their next Governor,” Maes said. “I have said consistently that my heart is not in the SD 16 seat.”
Maes instead cited his focus and single-mindedness as key strengths that will continue to carry him as an underdog steadily gaining in the governor’s primary. He certainly has my admiration.