Beauprez enters governor race |

Beauprez enters governor race

STEVEN K. PAULSONthe associated press
AP Photo GOP congressman Bob Beauprez launched his campaign for governor of Colorado on Tuesday at a news conference at the Capitol in Denver.

DENVER – With Republican congressman Bob Beauprez officially in the race for governor, Democrats looked to boyish-faced entrepreneur John Hickenlooper Tuesday to see if they could prod him to jump in.”I still think he’s running. He’ll make a great candidate,” said House Majority Leader Alice Madden, D-Boulder, who has been pushing Denver’s popular mayor to join the race.Beauprez has made no secret of his candidacy for months and Tuesday’s announcement made it official. While he was declaring for governor at the Capitol, Hickenlooper was at the Denver City and County Building, touting a plan to help the homeless.Sounding every bit the moderate Democrat, Hickenlooper promised donors a program that will provide results and accountability. Hickenlooper said he’s not sure when he will announce his decision on the governor’s race, which has his four potential opponents squirming.

“The hardest part is getting time to sit down and think so I can decide,” he said.John Straayer, a political science professor at Colorado State University, said the quirky mayor attracted a lot of attention with his television commercials when he won the mayoral race in 2003. The ads depicted him fighting a one-man battle against Denver’s hated parking meters, zooming around on a scooter with a change machine to save hapless motorists from tickets.Last year, he appeared in television commercials parachuting out of a plane to win support for a plan to loosen Colorado’s tax limits, a campaign that boosted his profile among Democrats and Republicans who supported the proposal.Straayer said Hickenlooper’s refusal to say no has only brought more attention.

“For the Democrats who are behind him, there is still room for hope. He brings an element of mystique,” Straayer said.After his announcement, Beauprez dismissed questions about his potential rival, saying he prefers to talk about his own plans.”What? What about him? He’s the mayor of Denver … I think,” said Beauprez.Beauprez was less congenial toward his Republican opponent, Marc Holtzman, who has been criticizing the two-term congressman for not fighting hard enough for taxpayers’ rights. Beauprez said he plans to ignore the barbs and focus on his own campaign.Beauprez focused on his conservative credentials Tuesday and promised to tackle issues including illegal immigration, water storage and education.

“I believe that the vast majority of Coloradans understand and identify with the same conservative principles that guide me: respect for traditional family values, including the institution of marriage and the sanctity of life, and an unyielding belief in the rights enshrined in our founding documents,” Beauprez said.Evan Dreyer, spokesman for Democratic candidate Bill Ritter, said Ritter has his own credentials as a former district attorney in Denver and an outspoken opponent of abortion, making it difficult for anyone to try to determine who is a moderate and who is a conservative in this race.”In a lot of ways, he defies conventional political wisdom,” Dreyer said.Dreyer said Ritter is focusing on his primary race against Gary Lindstrom, a freshman state lawmaker, and he isn’t worried about Hickenlooper.”He’s going through a decision-making process and it’s difficult to predict a time frame. He needs to go through that process at his own pace. As for Bill, he’s in a race with Gary Lindstrom on the Democratic side and he’s focused on November 2006,” Dreyer said.

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