McInnis set to begin legally running for governor

Scott McInnis has made his bid for governor official — again. The former six-term GOP congressman from Grand Junction filed Wednesday with the state to begin legally fundraising for a 2010 run against Bill Ritter.

McInnis filed to run with the secretary of state at the end of May after Colorado Ethics Watch alleged he had been engaged in illegal fundraising for weeks. On Wednesday, McInnis filed to set up a campaign committee. The herky-jerky false-starts that have so far characterized his campaign suggest the battle McInnis may face winning even his party’s nomination.

As The Colorado Independent reported in May, McInnis will likely be competing for the nomination against his former staffer and current Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry.

Both hail from Grand Junction these days, and both have deep ties to the state’s oil and gas industry, which would love to see Ritter’s New Energy Economy derailed.

McInnis doesn’t have the statewide name recognition he once had, and even on the Western Slope, former Republican strongholds like Eagle and Garfield counties have turned less red in recent years.

McInnis, though, won’t go down without a fight. The former Glenwood Springs cop pumped funds into a 527 group that sought to bolster energy interests in gas-rich Garfield County last fall, and he was the subject of a 2005 campaign finance probe focusing on funds paid to his wife, Lori, after McInnis announced he wouldn’t run again.