Gov. Ritter Press Conference: Leaving for Family Reasons

Update: The press conference. Loud cheers for him. His wife is with him and smiling. Sen. Mark Udall is behind him. He talks about his vision and that it is becoming a reality. Colorado is on the road to recovery. It is a privilege for him to serve as Governor. He praises Lt. Governor, Barbara O'Brien.

Over the last year, he's tried to balance many roles in his life. His family has sacrificed the most. He hasn't made them the priority they should be. So he is going to do that now.

He's 53 years old and been in public service for more than 30 years. He has two children that still live at home, one in college, and they need him and his wife needs him.

This decision allows him to focus on the budget and Colorado's economy. By not running for re-election he can make the tough budget cuts that need to be made, free of political bickering. He looks forward to spending the next year keeping the budget balanced and economy growing. He thanks everyone. Time for questions: [More...]

Over the break he asked himself some serious questions about what going forward meant for him and his family. At the end of the day, the most important thing is relationships.

He was not pressured into the decision. It was a personal one.

Polls and fund-raising had nothing to do with his decision. He felt the election was winnable, and he thinks it's winnable by any Democratic candidate. He's a trial lawyer, he loves a fight, but everyone has to understand relationships matter and finding a balance is important.

While it wasn't the reason for his decision, not running again frees him from political considerations and will make it easier to move his agenda through the legislature.

He's thought through all the parts to the decision. The Democratic party has a very deep bench and there are a lot of people who can step in to do this job. He believes Dems. will keep the Governor's House and the legislature.

It's about the tension between his professional life and his personal life and as soon as he made the decision, he knew he had made the right one.


Gov. Bill Ritter's press conference begins in 15 minutes. He met with his cabinet this morning and said he will finish out his term but not run for re-election because a campaign would be too hard on his family. He has one son still living at home.

"He said it has been a struggle between family life and political life and that he had to make a heartfelt decision," said Rich Gonzales, the director of the Department of Personnel and Administration.

Sources told the Post that on Tuesday evening, Ritter told other Democrats the job was taking a toll on his family and he could not be successful as a father and husband while running for governor. Ritter has one school-age child living with him and wife Jeannie in the Governor's Residence. Three others are grown or in college but still nearby.

So much for my theory he might be swapping the Governor's mansion for the U.S. Attorney's office.

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    Good for him. (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 11:53:02 AM EST
    Say what you want about the man, but at least he has his priorities straight.  

    I hope he uses this opportunity to implement some much needed changes to fix our budget--i.e., things that would have been viewed as political suicide before.  

    He was going to get Corzined (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 11:54:26 AM EST
    That's the sum of it IMO.

    Uhm, no he wasn't. (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 11:59:35 AM EST
    Three reasons why off the top of my head...

    1. Colorado has a loooooooong history of giving our incumbents a second term, no matter how "bad" they are.  

    2. Scooter is quite possibly the worst candidate the GOP could have thrown out.  He's already lost the Teabaggers and there is sooooo much dirt on him to be mined for the General.  

    3. Reasonable people understand the great job he has done keeping this State from falling into the financial abyss.

    I thought McInnis was the guy? (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 12:02:01 PM EST
    Ritter has trailed him in every poll this year.

    Tee hee. (none / 0) (#5)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 12:06:53 PM EST
    Scooter's a tool.  The man's got more baggage than Paris Hilton on a trip to Aspen.  Even the baggers see through him.

    Well, you're a local (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 12:08:24 PM EST
    I just think my explanation is more plausible. If this were going to be anything close to an easy run, Ritter would still be in.

    McInnis is not the reason (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 12:23:42 PM EST
    Nor is he afraid of a fight. This isn't about whether he would win or lose in November.

    We may or may not be getting the whole story, but I'm confident McInnis and his odds in November aren't the reason.


    Very well (none / 0) (#9)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 12:24:31 PM EST
    I do not share your confidence at all.

    I've known Bill for years... (none / 0) (#10)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 12:26:04 PM EST
    ...ever since I was a jury foreman on one of his higher profile cases as DA.  The man is a trial lawyer at heart and he is most definately not afraid of a fight.  

    I truly believe that this was a personal decision and not a political one.  That's what is plausible to me.


    Not being afraid of a fight and not fighting (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by tigercourse on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 01:11:53 PM EST
    a battle you won't win are two different things.

    My analysis (none / 0) (#20)
    by rdandrea on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 05:38:21 PM EST
    is somewhere in between.  Ritter's going to have to do some very tough budget cutting this year.  It's going to make a lot of people angry.  I mean real people, not politicos.

    I think that trying to do what needs to be done to run this state precludes a successful candidacy.  He wants the state to be run by a Democrat.  If he does what he needs to do to pull us back from the brink of bankruptcy, it won't be.

    Ritter alluded to that in the Q&A after his statement.


    Dodd (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by jedimom on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 12:18:29 PM EST
    wonder if Ritter heard Dodd just say he considers pols who resign/retire and say it is to spend time with the family 'the most pathetic politicans ever'

    nice of Dodd wasnt it?


    This is the guy (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Steve M on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 04:13:15 PM EST
    who made his kids change schools and move to Iowa for the sake of his 100% vanity campaign. Not my ideal family man.

    Maybe a better reason is to (none / 0) (#13)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 02:33:50 PM EST
    not spend any more time with people like Chris Dodd. What a nasty thing to say.

    Nice job on the live blog, J! (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 12:50:57 PM EST
    I was only able to catch the last part of the Q & A, so I appreciate the re-cap.

    missing fact (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by diogenes on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 11:08:10 PM EST
    Public service for thirty years with one child already in college, and suddenly he needs to be at home?  Maybe he needs to make enough money to send his kids to good colleges; I wonder if he will work for a law firm or lobbyist making much more cash for less work than he would as governor.

    A decent, good man (none / 0) (#14)
    by christinep on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 03:45:17 PM EST
    The words "decent" and "good" fit Governor Ritter according to many people (myself included.) I tend to think that it was quite personal. Not by any means a Corzine, except if the economy really stays in the tank. And, judging from a host of indicators at this point, many economists contend now that the economy is cycling up...finally (and the jobs expected to move into positive territory shortly thereafter.) Bill Ritter's poll numbers in Colorado were somewhat anemic, but not too far down. And, one of his biggest assets would have been Scott McInnis, who is not held in high regard in debate or on the stump. To date, McInnis and Repubs had chipped away at Ritter and incumbency...without the two-way engagement that a campaign would bring. So.... In talking with my political friends last night and this morning, a number of whys and wherefores emerged. One thing is sure: Governor Ritter entered 2009 with a shocker--the appointment of Senator M Bennet instead of someone from the usual names;and, the year was ending when his associate S Villafuerte withdrew from nomination as US Attorney after being wrongfully skewered by the local press. He skipped the annual JJ Dem dinner last March to vacation with family in Europe; and--in this still smalltown atmosphere of Denver--when we encountered him as we all were leaving a movie theatre on New Year's Day (yea Invictus), my husband remarked that he was the most relaxed man for a candidate that he had ever seen. I wish him well...and, if he later seeks some appointment--given his long DA and shorter gubernatorial service--he surely will realize a position worthy of his talents (and rather higher than US Attorney.)

    He looked as well... (none / 0) (#15)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 03:51:51 PM EST
    ...and happy at his presser today than I've seen him in a long, long time.  He truly looks like he is at peace with the decision and I think it is the right one for him and his family.  

    Our economy has faired much better than most other places in the country during this recession--and Bill deserves some credit for that.  


    Agree MileHi...Agree (none / 0) (#16)
    by christinep on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 03:55:30 PM EST
    I chatted with him for a while (none / 0) (#21)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 05:44:45 PM EST
    in early November at a dinner, we were seated at the same table. I won't go into what he said, and we didn't discuss his future plans, but after hearing him today, I believe the desire to get the rest of his agenda through without having to care about the political implications is a big deal. As he said today, now he can make the tough decisions on budget cuts and not worry how Group A or Group B feels about it. If people don't like it, tough, he's not running for re-election, he's just going to focus on doing what he believes is in the best interest of the state.

    I've known him since he was a Deputy DA, before he became the elected DA, and I've always liked him. But for term limits, he would have been happy to have stayed on as DA. I suspect that was a much more enjoyable (as in fun) job for him than being Governor.


    Can't you become U.S. Attorney (none / 0) (#18)
    by Peter G on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 04:52:20 PM EST
    and still spend a lot more time with your family -- indeed, all the time you'd want to, or that they could stand, when your kids are that age -- than you ever could while running a tough race for another term as Governor, or while serving as Governor?

    yes but he's finishing out his term (none / 0) (#19)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 05:32:53 PM EST
    as governor which will last until next January and it's unlikely Obama will wait that long to appoint our U.S. Attorney.

    Looks like... (none / 0) (#23)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 09:39:21 AM EST
    ...the ball is in Salazar's court.  Hick seems to be second in line with Perlmutter third, but everyone is waiting for Ken to decide what he wants to do.

    While I have had a few issues with Salazar's votes in the Senate, he has done a good job leading the DOI (see yesterday's new drilling regs).  Being Gov is about being an executive and not about legislating, so I would not have a hard time supporting Ken.  

    Lots of talk about Romanoff joining the ticket as Lt. Gov, which would clear the Senate race (which will be more competative than the Gov. race).  Ideally, I'd like to see Andrew serve one term as LG and then have Cary Kennedy come aboard in the 2nd term after she's term limited out of office.  Puts her in the driver's seat to succeed Salazar.  

    Imagine, after 130 years of white male rule, having a Hispanic followed by a female sitting in the Governor's mansion.

    In any case, it is nice to see the State Democratic bench so well stocked.  Other than Penry (who wouldn't win a statewide election), the GOP is sucking wind.  Heck of a job, Wadhams!

    Salazar passes... (none / 0) (#24)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 01:14:54 PM EST
    ...to Hickenlooper.  Will he run with the ball or lateral it to someone else?  

    Salazar made the decision after talking with his family and advisors. He intends to remain in the cabinet of President Barack Obama, who had previously indicated to Salazar that he would not object to a decision to run for governor.

    "Colorado needs a strong, experienced leader with optimism and new ideas for carrying our state forward. That is why I am endorsing John Hickenlooper for Governor of Colorado," Salazar said in a statement.