That smell of pickles wafting away is Noel Ginsburg leaving the Colorado governor’s race.
The civic leader and CEO of Intertech Plastics who grew up working in his dad’s pickle manufacturing plant in Aurora will no longer joke to crowds at Democratic functions about whether they can still catch a whiff of a brined cucumber in his midst.
Ginsburg on March 20 announced he was shutting down his campaign after 10 months on the road.
His exit leaves former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy, Congressman Jared Polis, ex-State Sen. Mike Johnston, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne and Republican-turned-Democrat Erik Underwood jockeying for position in the lead-up to the April 14 state assembly and the June 26 primary ballot.
Ginsburg, who ran as a moderate straight-talker, kicked off his campaign on May 1 in Pueblo and stood out over the past few months as a candidate who questioned whether some things his rivals were promising— free kindergarten, drastically reduced healthcare costs or 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, for instance— were realistic.
“Some of my opponents in this race are saying they are going to make things free,” Ginsburg said to a rally of about a hundred outside the Capitol in Denver one day in October. “I will tell you nothing is free, nothing is ever free.”
He said he spoke to the other candidates in the days before he announced his departure, and some told him they appreciated his focus on bringing the debate to a place based on real solutions. “Maybe some of them are relieved that I won’t be there to be a pain in the ass anymore,” he told The Colorado Independent.
During his bid, the self-described introvert raised about $800,000 and put some of his own money into the race, but in the end, he said his decision to drop out came down to money.
“If I had a million dollars that I could put on TV and the type of communications [needed] I’d be in this race because my message does resonate,” he said. “The problem is I don’t have the resources to get it out in a way that would allow me to compete.”
Money in politics has pushed others out of the governor’s race already. When Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter abandoned his bid in July, he said Colorado’s low-contribution limits were a factor — as was the entrance of Polis, one of the wealthiest members of Congress who is self-funding his campaign. On the Republican side, immigration firebrand Tom Tancredo blamed his inability to attract major money as a reason he quit his own race. Republican George Brauchler never caught fire in the fundraising department, either, and he left the governor’s race to run for attorney general.
The day before Ginsburg dropped out, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he would inject $1 million into a Super PAC-stye group supporting Johnston, and Polis announced a $1.6 million ad buy.
Ginsburg has not thrown his support behind any of his former rivals but says he will back the eventual Democratic nominee. And he says he will not be absent from politics.
“I would do this again,” he said. “I would be better the second go-around because I have more of a base and I understand more of what’s necessary.”
Asked how many times he thinks he told the smelling-like-pickles joke in the last 10 months, Ginsburg chuckled.
“Hundreds of times,” he said.