Penry’s decision could affect legislative races in Colorado

The end of state Sen. Josh Penry’s candidacy for governor has local House and Senate candidates wondering if the decision will start a political domino effect.

Republican state Rep. Steve King of Grand Junction said he will not continue his bid for Penry’s District 7 Senate seat if Penry, a Grand Junction Republican elected to the senate in 2006, decides to run for re-election next year. But King hasn’t decided if he would then automatically run for re-election for his House District 54 seat in 2010.

“Beyond knowing for a fact that I would not challenge Sen. Penry for that seat, everything else would probably need to be evaluated,” King said. “There are a lot more people involved than just me.”

Grand Junction Republicans Duncan McArthur and Ray Scott are vying for the House seat King currently holds. If King did drop back into a campaign for re-election to the House, Scott said it would not change his plans to run for King’s seat.

“I’m focused on what I’m doing. I can’t worry about what I can’t control,” Scott said.

McArthur said he hasn’t thought about what he’d do if King re-entered the House race. In the meantime, he’s “just playing wait-and-see.”

“I’ll definitely end up being a team player, no matter what ends up happening. My whole goal is to get the right people elected to the right spots,” McArthur said.

McArthur said he and some Republicans he has spoken with were initially shocked by Penry’s decision to leave the governor’s race. Once the shock wore off, though, McArthur felt Penry left the race “for the right reasons.”

McArthur said he doesn’t see Penry grasping for the lieutenant governor position as a next step, but Scott said he hopes Penry does reach for the state’s second-highest post.

“I’ve been running for governor for six months and honestly haven’t thought about what’s next,” Penry said in a text message Tuesday. “Once we get through these next couple weeks, we’ll decide what’s next.”


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