Penry set to end speculation on bid for governor’s office Saturday

Josh Penry has made up his mind and wants to tell Colorado what he’s decided Saturday.

So reports the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the hometown paper of the state GOP’s rising star, who plans to appear with his family to let everyone know “whether” he’ll run for governor on the steps of the old Mesa County courthouse. Local scribe Gary Harmon intones:

Penry, the minority leader in the state Senate, has said he was considering a bid to challenge Democrat incumbent Bill Ritter but hasn’t tipped his hand on his decision

Well, Penry hasn’t come out and said he’s running (what would be the point of an announcement timed to splash across the Sunday papers if he had?), but his e-mail newsletter sent to supporters Tuesday does rather tip his hand:

Dear Friends and Fellow Coloradans,

As many of you know, Jamie and I have spent the better part of the last several weeks weighing a decision to run for Governor of the State of Colorado. To even have the opportunity to seriously consider a bid for this important job during this critical hour has been a high honor. I mean that with the greatest sincerity — we have been humbled by the entire experience.

As we’ve thought through all the dimensions of the decision privately, we have received an incredible amount of encouragement from so many of you — and so many others across this State. That’s because you know it and we do to [sic]: the State of Colorado deserves better. We can do better.

And with a little leadership and a whole lot of hard work from us all, we can get this State of ours moving again.

And that’s the reason I am writing. On Saturday, July 11, at 9:00a.m., Jamie, the kids and I will be making our decision public out in front of the Courthouse in our hometown of Grand Junction. We’ve made up our minds and we want to share the news with you.

It’s an important day for us, and we hope you will be part of it.

Most Sincerely,
Josh Penry

“[T]he State of Colorado deserves better. We can do better.” Hard to imagine Penry plans to unveil another run for his statehouse seat (he’d be up for re-election in 2010) behind language like that.

In addition, Mile High Politics blogger Jeremy Pelzer reports Penry is in it to win it and “has been looking to hire staff,” according to “several Republicans.”

Penry couldn’t have picked better timing. His primary rival for the Republican nomination, former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, got some unwanted attention for a campaign blunder when he officially launched his campaign for governor late last week. Penry worked for McInnis before the congressman declined to seek re-election in 2004.

Evergreen businessman Dan Maes is also in the running.

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Ernest Luning

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