Penry throws his hat in the governor’s race |

Penry throws his hat in the governor’s race

Wyatt Haupt Jr.
Grand Junction Free Press
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Charles Broshous Special to the Post IndependentState Sen. Josh Penry announces his candidacy for the next Colorado governor's race.

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado – State Sen. Josh Penry said Saturday that he will enter the field of Republicans seeking to challenge Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter in 2010.

Penry made the announcement during a morning rally before hundreds of supporters at the old Mesa County Courthouse on Saturday. The event drew a host of GOP figures, including state Reps. Laura Bradford and Frank McNulty.

Penry, who was introduced by his wife Jaime, emerged from behind a black curtain to take center stage as “Right Now” by Van Halen blared in the background.

“I’m here to announce I’m running to be the next governor of Colorado,” said Penry, R-Grand Junction.

He referred to the upcoming race as a “long journey ahead.”

Penry, who serves as state senate minority leader, said it was time “to put an end to the business as usual” tax and spend government. He questioned Ritter’s leadership saying he’s “sitting quietly in the governor’s office” while jobs are being lost.

“Are we better off than we were three years ago?” asked Penry of the crowd during the hour-long rally.

“No,” the crowd responded.

He also said the governor’s policies have made a “bad economic situation worse” and it is time for the state to head in a new direction.

Penry, who is a Mesa State College graduate, also pledged to do something about state “drilling restrictions that kill jobs.”

While at Mesa State, Penry served as student body president and as starting quarterback for the Maverick football program.

Supporters called Penry the right man for the job.

“He has morals. He has conviction. He sticks up for what he believes,” said 29-year-old Jeramy Stehman of Fruita who has known Penry for more than 20 years.

Penry is the third Republican to join the race for governor. Former Congressman Scott McInnis of Grand Junction and Dan Maes of Evergreen are also in the running.

McInnis, who served six terms in Congress, announced in May that he would seek the state’s top post. Penry once served as a staffer for McInnis in Washington, D.C.

McInnis, is a Glenwood Springs native, who has long been rumored to jump back into the political arena announced his candidacy for governor a few weeks ago.

The race for governor shapes up to be a costly one. Earlier in the rally McNulty said the campaign is seeking to raise $1,050 from 1,000 people during the course of the next 16 months suggesting it needed at least $1 million for the fight.

“This will be one of the hardest and most expensive races in the country,” McNulty said.

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