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State Senator Hanna Resigns, Takes One for the Team

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State Senator Deanna Hanna, embroiled in an ethics flap over a controversial campaign letter, resigned today. Her resignation letter said:

“Make no mistake about it, this is beyond an inappropriate letter written in anger and haste; this will be about the majority control of the Colorado State Senate. I firmly believe the system, the win-at-any-cost, scorched-earth nature of politics today–robocalls, push-polls, negative ads-will overtake the work of the ethics committee.”

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Hannah was also facing a recall election over the letter. Had she lost the recall, she likely would have been replaced by a Republican. With the precarious balance in the Senate currently standing at 18 Democrats and 17 Republicans, the election of a Republican replacemeent would have meant the Dems lose control.

By her resigning, a Democratic vacancy committee in her district will pick her replacement. Sen. Ken Gordon, who filed the ethics complaint against Hanna, sent out an e-mail this afternoon predicting Betty Boyd will be selected to replace Hanna. He adds,

Even though the letter that Senator Hanna wrote is impossible to defend, her decision to resign rather than risk the loss of her party’s majority is an unselfish act.

As to the campaign letter, Gordon describes it this way:

Senator Hanna had written a letter to the Colorado Realtors Association asking that they give her a campaign contribution to compensate her for the campaign contribution that they had given to her opponent in the 2004 election. The language in the letter looked like she would not be supportive of their issues if she did not receive the contribution. The Senate Minority leader had called it extortion and called for her resignation. I had filed the formal ethics complaint.

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The most publicized phrase from Hanna’s letter is this one:

“My reparations request stands,” Hanna wrote to the group last summer. “It is my hope that you will make our relationship whole again. There are going to be some very important issues ahead of us.”

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