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The Rocky Mountain News today reported on something that hasn’t been much of a secret in political circles: that Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff will not run for governor in 2006. While most political insiders didn’t think that Romanoff would take the plunge, he was at least considering the idea for the past several months and was frequently mentioned as a potential candidate.
That wasn’t the case with former Republican Sen. Ben “Nighthorse” Campbell, whose announcement two days ago that he would not run for governor was treated with much more fanfare across the state than Romanoff’s announcement was yesterday. That’s why I find it off that Campbell’s announcement got more press than Romanoff’s announcement, which doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal today — Campbell was never really talked about as a serious candidate.
Sure, there was a time early last year when he said that he was thinking about running, but in the last 10 months he had done nothing to indicate that running for governor might be in his future plans. Democrats hate Campbell, who left the party for the Republican side after he was first elected to the U.S. Senate, and Republicans aren’t thrilled that he announced his retirement from the senate out of the blue in 2004, which may have given a slight edge to Democrat Ken Salazar (who was eventually elected as Campbell’s successor). Furthermore, when Campbell retired it was under investigation that his chief of staff had received kickbacks from another staffer. Add in the fact that two Republicans, Marc Holtzman and Bob Beauprez, have already each raised more than $1 million for their gubernatorial campaigns, and the possibility of a Campbell run seemed so minute that he hadn’t been talked about as a candidate in political circles for many months. In fact, I can sum up the reaction of most politicos to this news with one word: Duh!
Campbell announcing that he won’t run for governor is sort of like me announcing that I won’t run for President — there’s not a lot of suspense there. So why is that news while Romanoff, who was discussed as a possible candidate quite recently, gets somewhat overlooked? And where do we draw the line between who gets to make news by not making news? If Rep. Diana DeGette announces tomorrow that she won’t run for Premier of China, is that news?
As a journalist, I’ve been asked before: “what makes a story a story?” The answer, sometimes, is hard to define. In this case, I really don’t know. Obviously Campbell received some of that press because he took a shot at Colorado Republicans in his announcement, but that should have been the crux of the story. The story should be: Campbell criticizes Republicans, not Campbell announces he won’t run for governor.
So, anyway, I’m announcing here today that I will definitely, absolutely not run for President in 2008. That decision is final, so you can stop asking me about it.