Penry to decide on Senate bid soon

Photo by Gretel Daugherty—Josh Penry speaks at the Mesa County Republicans’ luncheon at Two Rivers Convention Center.



State Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, will decide over the holidays whether to seek re-election to his state Senate seat after backing out of the campaign for the Republican nomination for governor.

Either way, he’ll return what’s left of his gubernatorial campaign chest to the donors who contributed to that bid.

He remains committed to defeating Gov. Bill Ritter, he told about 160 Republicans at their monthly luncheon Friday at Two Rivers Convention Center, drawing applause when he asked, “Do you agree with that?”

Penry, the Senate minority leader, said he planned to travel the state to raise money and help Republicans around the state.

The 2010 election, he said, presents an “unprecedented opportunity” for Republicans to regain some of the offices they had lost in recent election cycles.

“I’d like to replicate the Laura Bradford story” across the state, he said.

Bradford, R-Collbran, ousted Bernie Buescher, a Grand Junction Democrat, from the House District 55 seat in 2008, an otherwise banner year for Democrats.

Ritter later appointed Buescher secretary of state.

Since Penry’s withdrawal from the gubernatorial race, former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Littleton, said he is interested in running for the nomination against former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, a Grand Junction Republican. A third Republican, Dan Maes of Evergreen, also is running.

Without hinting as to its nature, Penry said there will be an announcement next week about that race.

Penry had collected more than $400,000, including about $150,000 from Mesa County, for his gubernatorial bid. Much of that money has been spent, he said, but what remains will be returned to donors, Penry said.

He said he hadn’t worked out how to determine how much money will be returned to each donor.

“It just didn’t feel right to keep it,” either for a campaign for the Senate or to be spread around to other Republicans around the state, Penry said.


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