The Post ed­i­to­rial: Ed Perl­mut­ter’s exit from race is sad news

The Denver Post - - NEWS - Andy Cross, Den­ver Post file

For nearly 20 years, Coloradans have ben­e­fited from the pub­lic ser­vice of Ed Perl­mut­ter, so his an­nounce­ment this week that he would not only step down from his fledg­ling gu­ber­na­to­rial run, but also exit Washington when his con­gres­sional term ex­pires, comes as sad news in­deed.

We hate to see Perl­mut­ter go. From his time in the state leg­is­la­ture to his five terms in Congress, he’s been a true pub­lic ser­vant. As one of the hard­est-work­ing mem­bers of Congress, he’s also been one of the most con­ge­nial and col­le­giate. The United States needs more states­men, and, while a re­li­able Demo­crat, Perl­mut­ter has sought to fill that role.

Yes, he’s been more of a cham­pion of unions than we would have liked, but his pro­fes­sional back­ground as an at­tor­ney also gave him use­ful in­sights in what makes the pri­vate sec­tor tick. His work sup­port­ing the sci­en­tists at the Na­tional Re­new­able En­ergy Lab­o­ra­tory in Golden and veter­ans at the still-un­der-con­struc­tion VA hospi­tal in Aurora has been ex­em­plary.

Perl­mut­ter said he couldn’t over­come feel­ing like he didn’t have enough fire in the belly to press on. No doubt, some of that sec­ond-guess­ing came from the fact other strong Democrats have en­tered the pri­mary race, in­clud­ing the deep-pock­eted Jared Po­lis, Perl­mut­ter’s col­league from Boul­der. An­other fac­tor: these are hy­per-par­ti­san days. It’s dif­fi­cult to imag­ine how Perl­mut­ter could stir the “feel the Bern” pas­sions that now so dom­i­nate his party.

The con­gress­man, who some­how kept up his op­ti­mistic na­ture in these most cyn­i­cal of times, was also badly shaken by the shoot­ing of mem­bers of the con­gres­sional Repub­li­can base­ball team and oth­ers last month. The at­tack badly in­jured Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., whom Perl­mut­ter counts as a friend.

It’s not the first time gun vi­o­lence res­onated with the con­gress­man. Al­most five years ago, it was in his dis­trict that a gun­man opened fire in a crowded Aurora movie the­ater, slaugh­ter­ing 12 and in­jur­ing dozens. Perl­mut­ter vis­ited the in­jured in hos­pi­tals and com­forted fam­ily and friends at fu­ner­als.

The base­ball field shoot­ing also served as an eerie re­minder of the gro­cery store shoot­ing that so badly in­jured for­mer Rep. Gabrielle Gif­fords, D-Ariz., in 2011.

“I’ve had friends now — one Repub­li­can, one Demo­crat — get shot,” Perl­mut­ter told The Den­ver Post last month. “They’re good peo­ple. We may not agree on the pol­i­tics and stuff, but they’re good peo­ple.”

Perl­mut­ter added that such vi­o­lence makes “you take stock of your­self, your friends, your fam­ily.” Sober­ing words from a man who for years has made a prac­tice of hold­ing con­stituent meet­ings in gro­cery stores.

Af­ter Perl­mut­ter’s dis­trict was re­drawn, and be­came more com­pet­i­tive, he faced a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenger in Joe Coors in 2012, but so strong was his rep­u­ta­tion in the area, he eas­ily bested the con­ser­va­tive beer scion.

The con­gress­man voted with his party roughly 90 per­cent of the time in re­cent years, ac­cord­ing to rank­ings com­piled by the Na­tional Jour­nal. This paper called Perl­mut­ter the least par­ti­san mem­ber of the Colorado del­e­ga­tion in 2011. He’s never been known as a bombthrower, and he takes pride in thor­oughly read­ing the bills be­fore him.

The man’s a class act. We’ve been proud to sup­port him over the years, and wish him all the best in his next chap­ter. The mem­bers of The Den­ver Post’s ed­i­to­rial board are Wil­liam Dean Sin­gle­ton, chair­man; Mac Tully, CEO and pub­lisher; Chuck Plun­kett, ed­i­tor of the ed­i­to­rial pages; Me­gan Schrader, ed­i­to­rial writer; and Co­hen Peart, opin­ion ed­i­tor.

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