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Congressman Ed Perlmutter, D-Arvada, has announced he is dropping out of the race to become Colorado's next governor.
It's disappointing for many, Perlmutter said at a press conference on July 11, but it is "the best course going forward."
He said that running for governor is a big-time demand - traveling across the state to campaign and raising funds - all while still serving in Congress.
"I had to take a good, realistic look at it," he said.
Perlmutter said he never considered leaving his seat in Congress to focus on the governor's race.
"I will continue to fulfill my commitment to the people of Jefferson County and Adams County," he said. "I still have a lot of things on tap."
Perlmutter said a top priority is completing the VA Medical Center in Aurora, which is scheduled to open in 2018 and expected to improve medical care for veterans across the region. He said he would also continue work with aerospace, specifically the Orion Project, and marijuana issues.
Perlmutter also announced that he has decided not to run for re-election in November 2018 to keep his U.S. House seat representing Colorado's 7th Congressional District, which covers much of Jefferson County, including Golden, Lakewood, Wheat Ridge and Arvada, as well as much of Westminster, Thornton and Northglenn.
He was first elected to Congress in 2006.
There are three great candidates for the seat, Perlmutter said of the Democrats vying for the House seat.
"Sometimes you need to move on and somebody else needs to bring in new insights," Perlmutter said.
Perlmutter had announced his run for governor on April 9 in Golden.
"Coloradans deserve leadership, not partisanship," Perlmutter said as part of his closing remarks at the event, adding he had always tried to serve his constituents, regardless of party affiliation.
Even with Perlmutter dropping out, the race for governor in 2018 to replace John Hickenlooper, who is term limited, is crowded. Hickenlooper was elected to the position in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat from Boulder, announced in June that he would join the race. Polis was first elected to represent Colorado's 2nd Congressional District in 2008.
Other Democrats running are former state Sen. Mike Johnston and former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy. Johnston is a Denver resident who served in the state Senate from 2009-16, and before that, was a teacher and principal. Kennedy, of Denver, was elected treasurer in 2006 and lost a re-election bid in 2010. In 2011, she was appointed the City of Denver's chief financial officer and its deputy mayor, and she continued in those capacities until 2016.
Notable on the Republican side is District Attorney George Brauchler of the 18th Judicial District, which covers Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties. Businessman Victor Mitchell, a Castle Rock resident who served in the state House from 2007-09, also has filed for the race. Mitchell runs Lead Funding, an organization that helps finance homebuilders and developers.
Perlmutter will continue to be a team player for Colorado, he said.
"Maybe I'm moving from player to coach, I'm not exactly sure," Perlmutter said at the press conference. "I love this state, I love the people of this state and I love this country. I'm going to do what I can to keep it going on the right track."
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