The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports that Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry will not seek reelection to his seat in 2010. It’s a baffling move though not entirely surprising. In the weeks since he unexpectedly dropped out of the governor’s race in November, Penry has been equivocal in answering questions about his future. Rumors have floated for weeks that he was planning to run for lieutenant governor on a state GOP ticket topped by former Congressman and Penry primary rival Scott McInnis. Penry has since attempted to quash those rumors.
Just four months ago, as Penry embarked on his race for governor, things looked very different. He gained fast traction with local conservative voters and garnered winning attention from national media outlets. Washington Post columnist Chris Cillizza called Penry a rising star in September. On the last day of the year, however, two weeks before the state legislative session is set to start, Penry appears to be flaming out.
From the Sentinel:
Penry, who recently dropped out of a bid for the GOP nomination for governor, confirmed in an email to the Daily Sentinel that he was now telling friends and family that the 2010 session would be his last.
He offered no word yet on what his future plans would be.
The announcement clears the way for Rep. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, to seek his seat, and a slew of candidates who are vying to replace King in the Colorado House.
From the Washington Post’s Cilizza’s September 9 column:
If Republicans are going to begin re-building their party, Colorado in 2010 is a good place to look for the foundational bricks to be laid.
And Josh Penry, a fast rising state legislator, might be the best bricklayer the state GOP has at the moment.