Colorado's Lieutenant Governor, who cruised to an easy nomination saying she didn't want to run for governor, now says she wants to run for governor.
Actually, Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne said she actively “exploring” a run for Governor, which is what you're supposed to say if you are running for Governor, but want to save face if things come apart early. Lynne says she will not announce her final decision until September.
In an interview Tuesday morning, following the announcement, Lynne said, “So, just for the record, what the statement was was, ‘Do I have any plans to run for governor?’ At that time I wasn't even in the Lieutenant Governor job. And um, the impact of the last 16 months or so has been pretty palpable, whether it's what's going on nationally with the presidential election, and the importance of keeping a seat of governor in Democratic hands is certainly something I considered.”
Most Coloradans first heard of Lynne, who worked in New York government for 20 years, and then as an health care exec for Kaiser, on the day Governor John Hickenlooper nominated her for Lieutenant Governor in March 2016. That was the day she told Colorado she didn't plan to run for Governor. It was seen as a sign of good faith - that Governor Hickenlooper wasn't trying to play favorites in the coming Democratic primary race to replace him.
Tuesday, it was the Governor's preferred, private PR firm that announced Lynne's exploration, with a glowing quote from Hickenlooper, which said, in part:
“Colorado is fortunate to have someone with Donna’s dedication and tenacity who wants to lead our state.”
Lynne went on to say in her interview that she wants to focus on education, health care, and infrastructure.
“I talk to women a lot about taking risks in other groups and I had a woman raise her hand one day and say well wait a second, if you are advocating to learn and move forward and take risks, why aren't you running for governor. And it was really a sobering thought for me. That yes, everything I have done in my life has been about measured, calculated risks, because that’s how you learn and that’s how you grow,” she said.
Republican State Senator Jerry Sonnenburg, who represents Northeastern Colorado, says when the Governor and Lynne came to him asking for his vote to confirm her as Lieutenant Governor, they said she wasn’t going to run.
"They offered the comment. ‘We are not running in two years,’” says Sonnenburg. “It might have changed the questions we would have asked in confirmation, but I don’t think it changes the confirmation hearing much. It’s just an interesting dynamic that the first thing now is, if we’re going to run for Lieutenant Governor, why did we break the very first commitment we made to the legislature, if we’re not going to run.”
Lynne's exploration into the race sets up a Democratic primary between wealthy Congressman Jared Polis and Governor Hickenlooper's political machine.
Next invited Lieutenant Governor Lynne to come on the show tonight. We were told she was busy.
Former state Sen. Mike Johnston, former Colorado Treasurer Cary Kennedy and businessman Noel Ginsburg are also running on the Democratic side.