Senate District 16: Rob Witwer, Dan Maes Out; Penry Touts Cheri Gerou

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.

Other names he floated as possible candidates include former Summit County Commissioner Tom Long and current state party secretary Steve Schultz.

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.


  1. Derec Shuler says

    I’m a Dan Maes supporter.

    Though he hasn’t led the money race, his singlemindedness of purpose to do what needs to be done to strengthen the economy of Colorado deserves serious consideration from voters.

    I didn’t vote Republican in the 2008 election since it seems the party lost its focus on the principles of small government, low taxes, and individual liberty.

    Dan embraces these concepts and I’m confident he’d do a great job serving all the people of Colorado.

  2. Muhammad Ali Hasan says

    btw – for what its worth, I’ve officially endorsed Debra Irvine for House District 56 – she is going to do a tremendous job!


  1. […] The exciting opportunity for a Republican pickup in Senate District 16 with a departing incumbent Democrat Dan Gibbs has taken some interesting turns in the past week. State senate minority leader Josh Penry’s most highly touted replacement was Cheri Gerou. But the HD 25 representative told me today her current seat is “where I plan to stay.” So count out Gerou. […]

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