Even Republicans think Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper has found a good match in his running mate selection for lieutenant governor.

Denver County Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call tells The Denver Post Joseph Garcia is a “smart” choice, and in the midst of criticizing Garcia as a “professional bureaucrat,” Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis manages to eke out a compliment, calling Garcia a “fine fellow.”

Indeed, the northern New Mexico native landed into his current post as the president of Colorado State University-Pueblo much as Barack Obama did the U.S. presidency: to much fanfare and with great hopes for the future.

And although Puebloans are pleased to see a local represent at such an esteemed level, the Chieftain taps into the concerns many are expressing over what will happen next at CSU-P, a school that was in serious need of new leadership before Garcia arrived.

“I really, really wish him well, but Pueblo is the big loser in this deal, to lose a leader like him,” says Pueblo City Councilman Ray Aguilera. “He’s the best thing that’s happened to Pueblo in a long time.”

Garcia came to CSU’s southern campus in 2006 from the helm of Pikes Peak Community College in the midst of declining enrollment and racial tensions between the school and the city’s large Latino population, as the Colorado Springs Independent reported at the time.

Now that he has been named Hick’s running mate, Republicans want Garcia, a Harvard-trained lawyer, to step down from his position. Joe Blake, the CSU system chancellor, tells The Associated Press the CSU Board of Governors will meet next week to decide whether Garcia will stay on through the campaign.