Lynne takes big step toward governor’s race
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.