Penry backs McInnis for governor

State Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, will clear up all but one final remaining question from his campaign for governor when he endorses former boss and former rival Scott McInnis today.

Penry, the Senate minority leader, withdrew earlier this month from the race for the GOP nomination to run against Democrat incumbent Bill Ritter. He said he had “very productive” discussions with McInnis in the two weeks that have passed since he withdrew.

“While beating Bill Ritter is clearly Job 1, Scott and I are going to combine the forces of experience and energy with a goal of reclaiming the Colorado House and Senate,” Penry said. “Bill Ritter shouldn’t be happy about this partnership, and neither should the Democrats in the Legislature who have rubber-stamped” Ritter’s agenda.

Mesa County Republicans on Saturday scheduled a news conference without elaborating, except to say it would be “very special.”

Penry, who this week said he would decide over the holidays whether to run again for his Senate seat, said he also encouraged McInnis to bring in a “new generation of conservative leadership” into senior leadership in his administration.

That commitment is “something that has the potential to build real energy around his candidacy,” Penry said.

Penry, who boasted that he raised more money than Ritter did at a similar point in his campaign for governor in 2006, nonetheless had less money than Ritter or McInnis in this cycle.

While maintaining he could remain competitive, he said the cost of two Republican candidacies could draw money from Republican candidates for other offices. That could ultimately harm the party’s effort to regain legislative and congressional seats, he said.

Penry said he plans to return what remains of what was once a $400,000 campaign chest to donors.


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