Lynne takes big step to­ward gov­er­nor’s race

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Mark K. Matthews Daniel Bren­ner, Spe­cial to The Den­ver Post

The Den­ver Post

Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne this week took a big step to­ward run­ning for gov­er­nor, telling The Den­ver Post thas she filed the nec­es­sary pa­per­work Tues­day to cam­paign and raise money even though she still hasn’t com­mit­ted 100 per­cent to­ward pur­su­ing Colorado’s top job.

It’s an un­usual ma­neu­ver — and one that could com­pli­cate her plans to suc­ceed her boss, Demo­cratic Gov. John Hick­en­looper. Nor­mally, can­di­dates spend weeks pre­par­ing for these kinds of an­nounce­ments, and when they do, it’s with less equiv­o­ca­tion.

But Lynne, a Demo­crat, has de­cided to back into a race that’s al­ready over­whelmed with Demo­cratic and Repub­li­can can­di­dates, in­clud­ing a field of pri­mary op­po­nents that in­cludes Demo­cratic U.S. Rep. Jared Po­lis, for­mer state treasurer Cary Kennedy and for­mer state Sen. Mike John­ston.

Lynne said she’s tak­ing this route for two prin­ci­pal rea­sons: to be up­front about her in­ten­tions as she con­tin­ues her job as lieu­tenant gov­er­nor and to en­sure she can con­sol­i­date the nec­es­sary sup­port to mount a com­pet­i­tive cam­paign.

She added that she would make a fi­nal de­ci­sion be­fore the first week of Septem­ber.

“I am ac­tively ex­plor­ing a bid. I want to make sure that I have ev­ery­thing in or­der,” she said in a phone in­ter­view. “A lot of peo­ple urge can­di­dates to run. But you re­ally want to make sure that you can so­lid­ify that — that they will be en­dorsers, that they will be fi­nan­cial sup­port­ers and that’s a process.”

One of the big­gest chal­lenges fac­ing Lynne — and per­haps the rea­son for her hes­i­tancy — is her abil­ity to raise money. John­ston and Kennedy to­gether have net­ted more than $1 mil­lion in con­tri­bu­tions, and Po­lis has enough money in his bank ac­count to fund his run sev­eral times over.

Asked about that hur­dle, Lynne said she ex­pected the money would be there.

“I’m pretty con­fi­dent that I’ll be able to meet the fundrais­ing de­mands for this cam­paign,” she said.

An­other is­sue Lynne will have to han­dle is a pre­vi­ous state­ment about not look­ing to run for gov­er­nor when Hick­en­looper ap­pointed her last year as his sec­ond-in-com­mand.

She said her time in of­fice, how­ever, has con­vinced her to take a greater role, and that it wouldn’t be a con­cern for Hick­en­looper.

“One of the first things I did was that I asked the gov­er­nor, ‘Do you feel that you asked me not to run?’ and he said, ‘I never asked you not to run. What I did was ex­press a pref­er­ence for A) some­body from the pri­vate sec­tor and B) some­body who didn’t have po­lit­i­cal as­pi­ra­tion,’ ” she said.

“I think you’ll hear him con­sis­tently say he ac­tu­ally thinks this (pur­suit) is a good thing,” she said.

As for her rea­sons to run for gov­er­nor, Lynne cited the need to en­sure that Coloradans can get a proper ed­u­ca­tion and good health care. She talked about im­prov­ing the state’s in­fra­struc­ture — and how she’s uniquely po­si­tioned to take on those de­mands.

“I’m in essence the copi­lot of the plane right now, and I can tell you the com­plex­ity of the is­sues that I deal with on one sin­gle day range from hir­ing and re­cruit­ing nurses in our men­tal health hos­pi­tals, what’s go­ing with our prison pop­u­la­tion, mar­i­juana, ed­u­ca­tion,” she said. “Lit­er­ally, in a sin­gle day I am deal­ing with a mul­ti­tude of is­sues that are state rel­e­vant and that re­late to the abil­ity to govern ba­si­cally a $30 bil­lion en­tity.” Staff writer Jesse Paul con­trib­uted to this re­port.

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