Big names in Colorado politics line up for governor’s race
January 1, 2017
DENVER — Some of the biggest names in Colorado politics already are looking to run for governor in 2018.
Prospective candidates include U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter and former U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar on the Democratic side. State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and District Attorney George Brauchler are exploring bids on the Republican side, the Denver Post reports.
Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper will be term-limited after eight years in office.
With almost two years to go until the next election, prospective candidates are remaining coy about their intentions, Colorado State University political scientist Kyle Saunders said.
But the race will probably draw a long list of contenders and give each party a chance to learn more about who supports their agendas.
"An open seat allows parties to take stock of their electoral coalitions," Saunders said.
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Whichever party wins the governor's race next cycle will have an outsized influence on the next round of redistricting, the once-a-decade process of drawing boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts. Democrats have dominated Colorado's governor's office for the last 60 years. Only two Republicans, John Arthur Love and Bill Owens, have been governor during that time.
Internal feuds in both parties — rifts exacerbated by the 2016 presidential contest — will add drama to the governor's race.
Colorado's top elected Democrats backed Hillary Clinton in their party's presidential party even though Bernie Sanders dominated the state's presidential caucus.
A group of Colorado Republicans, meanwhile, led a failed effort to topple Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention. How Colorado Republicans view the first two years Trump's presidency will likely factor into the governor's race.