Gubernatorial run is a political homecoming for Glenwood Springs native McInnis |

Gubernatorial run is a political homecoming for Glenwood Springs native McInnis

John StroudPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Scott McInnis’ run for governor of Colorado is as much a return home for the former U.S. Congressman as it is a return to politics after five years.”We did come from Denver today, but the Western Slope is our home,” the Glenwood Springs native said before a crowd of hometown supporters in West Glenwood Monday evening.”And this one is all about Colorado,” McInnis said of his decision to seek the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter next year.It was the fourth stop of the first day of his “It’s About Colorado” campaign tour, which began Monday morning on the steps of the State Capitol in Denver.The tour stopped in Idaho Springs and Edwards, but the Glenwood Springs rally in particular was special for McInnis and his wife, Lori, because Glenwood is where his political career began in 1982 when, as a young former cop-turned-lawyer, he won election to the Colorado House of Representatives.Even when he left the state House 10 years later to go to Washington, D.C., as the 3rd Congressional District representative, McInnis said he never really left home.”When I went to Congress, I never spent the weekend there,” McInnis told the Post Independent following Monday’s rally. “I never intended to make a home in Washington. Home is here, and it always will be.”Which is exactly why the governorship makes sense as his next, and likely last in his words, run for public office.”It is the highest political calling in which I get to stay home,” said the former five-term Congressman, who now calls Grand Junction home.”Now is the time to do it, and I’m the candidate with the most experience and the one with the best chance of beating Ritter,” McInnis said.McInnis is one of three candidates seeking the Republican Party’s nomination to run for governor. He faces a stiff challenge from his former Congressional staffer, 33-year-old state Sen. Josh Penry of Grand Junction, who is viewed as one of the up-and-coming new faces in the GOP. Also seeking the nomination is Evergreen businessman Dan Maes.McInnis, 56, notes that he has been running ahead in scientific statewide polls.”And they all show me beating Ritter,” he said.Still, a strong majority of state Republican Party leaders favored Penry in a straw poll taken during the party’s annual meeting in Denver last month.McInnis will get a chance to convert many of Penry’s backers when he visits Grand Junction on the second day of his campaign tour today, where he is scheduled for a series of coffee shop visits and a rally at the Two Rivers Convention Center.”The governor’s office is the chief executive office of the state, and you need to come in with experience and not looking for on-the-job training,” McInnis said. “It takes years of service to gain that experience, and you have to look at who’s really brought results.”My [Republican] opponents are good people, and in due time they will be ready,” he said.Political consultant Katy Atkinson said Monday that McInnis and Penry both have legislative experience, and both of them have backers that include former and current lawmakers.She said even though Republicans are divided over their support for the primary, they’ve managed to focus more on Ritter and his record than on each other.State Rep. Bob Gardner, a Republican from Colorado Springs who is backing McInnis, said he doesn’t believe the primary will be divisive.”We’re going to focus on the current governor of Colorado, who made some really bad bets and lost every one of them,” Gardner said.McInnis said his focus, too, is on challenging Ritter’s policies and decisions.”He’s a nice guy, but he’s not doing the job,” McInnis said of the first-term Democratic governor. “Even for people who voted for Ritter, my goal is to convince people he’s not the right person, and especially not right now.”(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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