In a surprise move, Democrat Rutt Bridges has pulled out of the race for governor. From the press release:

“My passion has always been public policy, not politics,” said Bridges. “Colorado is a state full of dedicated people with hopes and dreams for the future. Campaigning for governor is not what I want to do with my life, and I owe it to the people of Colorado to stand aside and let others come forward to lead.”

Bridges continued, “I have a passion for innovation and new ideas, but when you’re running for office you have to ‘stay on message’ and repeat the same tired political speak that polls say is what voters want to hear. I’m not particularly good at that. I’d rather work outside the elective political system to make a difference with my life.”

“I don’t think I have the skills or the stomach to be an effective politician,” said Bridges. “Getting out of this race will let me focus on helping pass Referenda C and D, so that we can keep a decent quality of life in Colorado.”

It sounds like Bridges just didn’t have his heart in it, and exiting the race now opens up the field once again. Former Denver DA Bill Ritter is now the only Democratic candidate in the race, but that will certainly change soon. The most likely candidate to run is State Senator Joan Fitz-Gerald, and Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff now moves up on the list. Calls for Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to run will no doubt increase now as well. Bridges and Hickenlooper are close friends, and Bridges’ candidacy was going to make it hard for Hick to run.

The watch begins for the next round of Democratic candidates now that the frontrunner is out.