McInnis files for governor run

Former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., has filed papers declaring he’s a candidate for governor.

Critics said McInnis filed to blunt attacks that he was dodging campaign-finance laws by failing to make his intentions official.

McInnis officially filed his candidate affidavit “to respond to the enthusiasm” of potential supporters, said Mike Hesse, who was McInnis’ chief of staff when McInnis was a congressman and who is volunteering on McInnis’ nascent campaign.

McInnis can’t accept campaign contributions until he establishes a committee, which is a step to be taken later, Hesse said.

He began taking calls from potential supporters who tried to contact McInnis at his office with the Denver law firm of Hogan and Hartson.

McInnis has about $1 million in his federal campaign account, but cannot use it to run for governor.

A watchdog organization, Colorado Ethics Watch, has asked Secretary of State Bernie Buescher to investigate whether McInnis violated state law by publicly announcing his candidacy and soliciting, receiving or spending campaign funds before filing his candidate affidavit and registering a candidate committee.

McInnis has said he did nothing wrong.

The filing of the affidavit has nothing to do with the Ethics Watch complaint, Hesse said.

“We’re doing this on our own schedule,” he said.

A survey last month showed that voters would choose him over incumbent Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat, but to face Ritter, McInnis might have to overcome an intra-party challenge from Josh Penry, a former aide and now the minority leader in the state Senate.

Penry refused Thursday to commit to challenging McInnis.

McInnis “deserves credit for getting back in the fight,” Penry said. “ I’m considering the race a little bit more methodically.  After watching Bill Ritter and the Democrats overreach for the last three years, the stakes of this race couldn’t be clearer to me. It deserves serious deliberation and a serious plan of attack in every phase, not a shotgun approach. That’s how I’m weighing the decision.”


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