Update, 2:13 p.m.: New statements just in about Ritter's withdrawal from Senator Mark Udall and Representative Ed Perlmutter, who actually says he's going to consider running for governor. Read them below, following the original item:
In the wake of Bill Ritter's announcement this morning that he won't seek reelection as governor, the spin merchants have been earning their keep.
For instance, Ken Salazar, thought to be the Democrats' top choice to step in for Ritter, has issued a mega-brief statement that gives not the slightest hint about what he's likely to do. Likewise, Ritter's own release sticks doggedly to the line that he's stepping away because of family concerns -- a tough sell in the cynical world of politics. And Republican frontrunner Scott McInnis has offered up remarks of his own, in which he tries to focus on graciousness instead of gloating. Although you know he'd love to do the latter.
Check them out below:
Salazar's Statement on Governor Ritter's Announcement That He Will Not Seek a Second Term as Governor of Colorado
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar released the following statement on Governor Bill Ritter's announcement that he will not be seeking a second term as Governor of Colorado:
"Bill Ritter has been a devoted servant of the public at great sacrifice to self and family. I have enjoyed our work together during my time as Attorney General, United States Senator and Secretary of the Interior. I wish him and his family all the best and thank him for his service."
GOV. RITTER ANNOUNCES HE WILL NOT SEEK RE-ELECTION
Gov. Bill Ritter announced today he will not seek re-election this November to a second term. He issued the following statement during a news conference at the Capitol:
"Good morning. Almost five years ago, in the spring of 2005, I began running for governor of Colorado. My campaign theme -- the Colorado Promise -- was a deeply held belief that we as a state were not living up to our full potential.
"So we laid out a vision to create a New Energy Economy, to build up other Industries of the Future like aerospace and the biosciences, to reform our education and healthcare systems, and to modernize our transportation system.
"Today, even in the face of the worst recession since the Great Depression, that vision is becoming a reality. We are leading Colorado forward. People all across Colorado are fulfilling the Colorado Promise, and Colorado is on the road to recovery.
"It is my privilege and my honor to serve as governor of the greatest state in America, and it is my privilege and honor to serve with the greatest lieutenant governor, Barbara O'Brien.
"Over the past years, but particularly over this last year, I have attempted to balance many roles in my life. I have been the governor, I have been a candidate for re-election, and I have also been a husband and a father.
"I am proud of my work as governor. I am proud of the direction we are taking this state. I am proud of everyone who works in this administration. I am proud of my campaign, of the staff we have built, and of our re-election efforts.
"It is my family who has sacrificed the most, my wife, Jeannie, my kids, three of whom are here today. I have not found the proper balance where my family is concerned, and I have not made them the priority they should be. So today I'm announcing that I'm ending one of my roles. I am no longer a candidate for re-election this November.
"This will allow me to concentrate on the things that are most important -- taking care of my family, and taking care of Colorado.
"I'm 53 years old. I have been in the public sector or public service for most of the past 30 years. I was a prosecutor right out of law school. Jeannie and I spent three years in Zambia, Africa as Catholic missionaries. I was the elected District Attorney of Denver for 12 years, and I've been governor for the past three years.
"But I still have one son in college and two children living at home, and they need me. And so does Jeannie.
"While this decision allows me to make my family a priority, it also allows me to focus on keeping the state budget balanced and keeping Colorado on the road to recovery.
"The Colorado economy is getting better, but we still have budget-cutting to do on the 09-10 and 10-11 budgets, and we'll be submitting the 11-12 budget in November. By not running for re-election, I'll be able to make the tough and unpopular decisions that simply need to get made - free and clear of the sometimes bitter partisan politics of an election year.
"We're positioning Colorado for a strong recovery with our New Energy Economy, our job-creation strategies and our education reforms. The rest of the country is looking to Colorado on everything from the economy to energy to education.
"We're in a great position, and we're on the right path. I look forward to spending the next 12 months keeping our budget balanced and our economy growing. We still have a lot of very important work to do."
(DENVER) -- Scott McInnis, the front-runner for governor of Colorado, today issued the following statement on Governor Bill Ritter's decision not to seek a second term.
"Lori and I understand the pressures and sacrifices of public life and the toll that elected office can take on a family. We wish the Governor, First Lady and the entire family all the best in the years ahead. We want to thank them for their service to Colorado.
"This election is about the future of families all over the state, and how together, we can create quality jobs and put Colorado back on the path to prosperity. We must bring Colorado back from the toughest and most challenging economic times in decades through a fresh vision and new ideas that make our state first again.
"Our message of job creation, economic security and fiscal responsibility, which is clearly resonating throughout Colorado, will remain steady and strong. We will take this message of optimism and a deep belief in Colorado's future, neighborhood by neighborhood, and won't take one vote for granted.
"Together, we will turn Colorado around and build the bright future that our families deserve."
Update, 2:13 p.m.: Here are new statements from Mark Udall and Ed Perlmutter.
Udall Statement on Gov. Ritter's Decision not to Seek Re-election
Washington, D.C. -- Today, U.S. Senator Mark Udall issued the following statement in response to Gov. Bill Ritter's decision not to run for a second term.
"I respect Governor Ritter's decision and the priority he places on his family and the job of being governor. Bill Ritter has shown true leadership at the helm of state government, despite being faced with the worst economy our nation has seen since the Great Depression. Among other examples, he has overseen the impressive expansion of renewable energy production, helping position our state as an international leader in the green economy.
"I thank Bill for his friendship and his dedication to public service. His decision was difficult and heartfelt, and I was proud to stand with him today. Colorado Democrats have a deep political bench, and I am confident that we will field a successor who will be elected governor in November."
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Lakewood, CO -- Today, U.S. Congressman Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) released the following statement concerning Gov. Ritter's decision not to seek re-election.
"First of all I want to thank Governor Ritter for his service and leadership to our state. I know this was a difficult decision for him, and as a father of three girls, I respect this very personal decision for him and his family.
This is a nightmare for the Republican party. This decision is a game changer, and I believe Colorado Democrats have a deep bench of potential candidates who can win this race. I am confident we will have a candidate who will present real solutions for Colorado instead of the Republicans who want to focus on the status quo by just saying no. We will retain this seat and continue to move our state forward and ensure Colorado remains one of the best states to live in.
I am honored to have my name mentioned as a potential candidate. I love this state and I want to continue to serve my community and state and make it a great place to live for everybody. It's a premature decision to make at this time, but one I will carefully consider."
Update, 2:26 p.m.: Jane Norton sounds off.
JANE NORTON ISSUES STATEMENT ON DEMOCRAT RETIREMENTS
(CENTENNIAL) - Senate candidate and Former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton today issued the following statement in reaction to national Democrat decisions not to run for reelection:
"Some have called the decisions of Gov. Ritter and Senators Dodd and Dorgan surprising, but there's nothing surprising about seeing the writing on the wall. Out-of-control spending and burgeoning deficits have many Americans worried about the future of this great nation, and there is no question that Democrats nationwide are rethinking their futures as a result.
"My experience running a government agency and serving as Lieutenant Governor taught me how difficult it is to govern. But if we are going to get our economy growing again and put Americans back to work, we need leaders who will act responsibly. We must reduce government spending, cut taxes, make capital available to creditworthy businesses, establish a responsible regulatory environment, and find and develop all forms of affordable and available energy.
"Doing these things will rejuvenate the economy and create jobs in Colorado. The big government policies being pursued by Senator Harry Reid and Senator Michael Bennet will not. I will return conservative Colorado values to the United States Senate."