Jan 11, 2022 - News

Ed Perlmutter retires and could contend for CU president's job

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times via AP/Pool
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times via AP/Pool

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter is retiring from Congress, this time for sure.

Why it matters: The eight-term lawmaker is a tireless cheerleader for Democrats, and his departure could make the 7th District a battleground this year.

What he's saying: "There comes a time when you pass the torch to the next generation of leaders," Perlmutter said in a statement.

The intrigue: A prominent job is open that may interest him: President of the University of Colorado in Boulder, his alma mater.

  • "If CU is looking for a president who bleeds black and gold then Ed Perlmutter should be at the top of the list," longtime Perlmutter consultant Steve Welchert tells Axios.

Context: Back in 2017, Perlmutter said he would not seek re-election and instead run for governor. He later exited both races, saying he lost the "fire in the belly."

  • But at the prodding of national Democrats, he later reversed course and easily won another term.

Between the lines: The Jefferson County district's new boundaries, redrawn by an independent commission after the 2020 census, made it a little more competitive but it still leans in Democrats favor.

  • Dave Wasserman at the Cook Political Report said he's skeptical Republicans can flip the district, but Democrats know the seat was a lock because of Perlmutter's presence.
  • And GOP officials are not hesitating to lay claim. "Ed Perlmutter knows House Democrats won't be in the majority after the midterm elections. He made the smart decision to retire rather than lose reelection," said Courtney Parella, a spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee, in a statement.

What's next: Republicans are lining up to compete for the seat, but a potential Democratic primary in June is the focus.

  • State Sen. Brittany Pettersen, whose district shifted into the district of another Democratic incumbent, has said she's interested in pursuing that seat.
  • Given the pent-up demand in the district, others are expected to take a look.
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