The Associated Press reported yesterday that Colorado Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald is “very seriously” considering a run for governor. To most political observers the news was, well, no news at all.
Fitz-Gerald first emerged as a potential candidate back in April, when Colorado AFL-CIO President Steve Adams publicly urged her to run. In May, Fitz-Gerald polled to see how she might fit into a race for governor, but while some Democrats expect her to run, an equal number believe she will stay where she is and run for re-election in the state senate instead.
Fitz-Gerald emerged after the legislative session as the unofficial leader of the state Democrats, surpassing Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff after a five-month period in which she was widely praised for keeping Democrats organized in the state house. As it turns out, her success as senate president might actually prevent her from running for governor, with some Democrats encouraging her to stay where she can help the party maintain control of the state legislature. Running for governor was never in Fitz-Gerald’s long-term plans anyway, because she’s had her sights set on Rep. Mark Udall’s seat in Boulder/Broomfield when he leaves to run for U.S. Senate prior to 2008.
None of this means that Fitz-Gerald will not run for governor, but the AP story suggests that Fitz-Gerald’s interest is a sudden revelation, when in fact these discussions have been going on for more than two months. The truth is that Fitz-Gerald is being pulled from both sides and isn’t expected to make a formal decision until perhaps as late as November — after the fate of Referendum C&D is decided. If the Colorado budget fix is not approved by voters, the job of governor becomes significantly less attractive, and that may play into her decision as well.