State treasurer steps down, will return to military service |

State treasurer steps down, will return to military service

Associated Press Writer

DENVER ” State Treasurer Mike Coffman is stepping down to return to military service in Iraq and Secretary of State Donetta Davidson has told the governor she may resign to take a federal post, The Associated Press learned Thursday.

Coffman, a Marine, said he will report for active duty next month to help establish a stable, democratic government in Iraq. But he says he wants his job back in about nine months.

“This was an extremely difficult decision for me. I had to choose between whether to continue serving Colorado as the state treasurer, or serving the nation by returning to the Marine Corps and returning to Iraq,” said Coffman, who recently dropped out of the 2006 governor’s race after fellow Republican Rep. Bob Beauprez expressed interest.

GOP Gov. Bill Owens has not decided on a replacement, a source close to the governor told the AP on condition of anonymity.

Coffman said he intends to return to his post as state treasurer after he returns from his nine-month stint in Iraq, leaving several candidates for the post wondering how the governor could appoint an acting treasurer.

Senate Minority Leader Mark Hillman, R-Burlington, said he might be interested in the post, but he was not sure about being acting treasurer.

“There’s too much uncertainty now,” Hillman said.

Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, also mentioned as a potential candidate for treasurer, said he was not interested in the job.

Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, D-Golden, said Coffman’s decision to temporarily step down raises questions about the process to appoint a successor, and whether the governor could appoint an acting treasurer.

Davidson’s spokeswoman, Dana Williams, said her boss is being considered for a job with the federal Election Assistance Commission, which sets guidelines and standards for states trying to implement the federal Help America Vote Act.

“She would only step down in a case where the White House offered the post and she went through House and Senate confirmation,” Williams said.

Last fall, Davidson was criticized after a number of problems cropped out around the state, including fraudulent registration forms, some 6,000 felons registered to vote and people casting multiple ballots. There were several arrests.

Davidson later helped lead a task force that made a series of recommended improvements, including getting rid of per-signature commissions for people who register voters and handling absentee votes consistently statewide.

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