Ritter Picks Up Rocky Mountain News Endorsement

Democrat Bill Ritter picked up a key endorsement today when the Rocky Mountain News joined The Grand Junction Sentinel and Montrose Daily Press in backing him for governor over Republican Bob Beauprez…even though the News endorsed Beauprez both times he ran for congress.

The tipping point for the News editors was apparently Beauprez’s ineptness at campaigning for governor…

Bill Ritter for governor.

Yes, you heard right. We believe that the former Denver district attorney, despite his inexperience outside the law enforcement realm, is the better of two good candidates running for Colorado’s top job.

True, our endorsement today is a bit of a gamble given Ritter’s limited experience. It could even turn out to be a major mistake. But based on the Bill Ritter we’ve known over the years and watched on the campaign trail, we don’t think that’s likely. It will be an error only if Ritter himself proves to be a reckless liar, and we’ve seen no evidence for that being the case…

…Our choice was not an easy one, since we also admire Ritter’s Republican opponent, Bob Beauprez. Indeed, we have to believe the 7th District congressman – whom we’ve endorsed both times he’s run – would certainly make a better governor than he has let on during this campaign…

…For us, the tipping point between the two men has to do with their campaigns. To be blunt, Beauprez’s performance during the past 15 months has not been reassuring. It began with his taking an unconvincing stand against Referendum C, one seemed designed to secure his right flank rather than satisfy personal conviction. It continued with his mysterious embrace and then repudiation of Amendment 38, and a couple of verbal gaffes. And for a long time it wasn’t clear why Beauprez even wanted to be governor. Only recently – too late in our view – have his positions begun to gel into a focused, coherent message.

This newspaper has watched Ritter under fire and seen him take on new challenges. In everything he does there’s a certain steadiness that we believe Coloradans will find reassuring.

Eighteen months ago Ritter was an improbable candidate whom few gave a chance of grabbing the Democratic Party’s nomination, given his anti-abortion views. Now he’s poised to defy the odds and become the next governor. Fortunately for Coloradans, he’s shown he deserves it.