Penry, no longer a candidate, still free to dole out bad campaign advice

State Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry in running for governor drew sharp critiques in the media for making unsupported allegations and baldly stretching facts in his attacks on Gov. Ritter. That hasn’t stopped him from suggesting Republican candidates follow his example.

josh penry

At Ben Degrow’s Mount Virtus blog Tuesday, Penry weighed in on the coming race for state Sen. Dan Gibbs’ seat. Libertarian DeGrow quoted Penry saying that Republicans can win SD 16 by running against plans to install tolls on I70 he said Democrats were proposing.

“If voters approve of the Ritter economy and toll roads on I 70, then we won’t have a chance,” Penry said. “My guess is voters will see it differently.”

In fact, placing tolls on I70 has featured in both Republican and Democratic solutions to the congestion problem on the state’s most popular highway. And the idea has been rejected by both Democrats and Republicans.

In 2008, state Sens. Chris Romer, a Denver Democrat, and Andy McElhany, a Colorado Springs Republican, both proposed legislation that would have installed tolls on I-70. Romer’s bill would seen tolls being levied on Sundays year round and during ski-season rush hours, exempting vehicles carrying three or more passengers.  Sen. McElhany proposed a $5 dollar toll along a 35 mile stretch from the Denver Metro area to Eisenhower tunnel for all vehicles not registered in Clear Creek and Gilpen counties. McElhany later killed the legislation, which he sponsored with Parker Republican Rep. Mike May.

It was also Democratic Sen. Dan Gibbs and Democratic Rep. Christine Scanian who opposed both toll proposals. Gibbs spoke here on the reason for his opposition.

Ritter also attacked McElhany’s bill, explaining that he preferred to allow the Colorado Department of Transportation to continue to try to forge a plan with I-70 stake holders.

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