Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne Tentatively Wades Into The Governor’s Race

Photo: Donna Lynne
Donna Lynne at the CPR studios April 2, 2016.

It’s not quite the announcement that was expected. Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, is running for Governor… sort of. Lynne announced Tuesday morning that she was filing the necessary paperwork to run, but wouldn’t make a final decision until early September.

If Lynne decides to enter the Democratic primary, she’ll face off against an already crowded field of candidates, including Rep. Jared Polis, who has enough cash on hand to self-finance a formidable run. Other hopefuls like former state treasurer Cary Kennedy and former state Sen. Mike Johnston have raised more than $1 million combined.

Early entrant Democrat Rep. Ed Perlmutter has already been chased from the race.

Lynne has occupied the post of lieutenant governor for about 15 months, and she’s the first in the job to serve a dual role for the state of Chief Operating Officer. The former Kaiser Permanente executive was tapped by Gov. John Hickenlooper to take the number two job after former lieutenant governor Joe Garcia resigned. Garcia now heads up the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education.

When Lynne accepted the job, she told The Denver Post she had no plans to run for the top job in 2018. By all accounts, her near change of heart seems to have been a gradual process.

In an interview with Colorado Matters, Gov. Hickenlooper indicated that Lynne had asked for his blessing months ago — a blessing he happily granted.

"You know when people have asked me all the way along the line: am I endorsing someone? I've said the same thing to everyone, ‘it's not my intention to endorse someone,’” he said. “Someone like Donna Lynne who is so talented, and I've worked with — she's one of the most talented people I've worked with — when she enters, it makes that commitment all the much harder."

Lynne told The Post Tuesday she’s not committing just yet for two reasons: she wants to be upfront about her intentions, and she wants to make sure she can find the support she needs for a strong campaign.

“I am actively exploring a bid. I want to make sure that I have everything in order,” she told the paper. “A lot of people urge candidates to run. But you really want to make sure that you can solidify that — that they will be endorsers, that they will be financial supporters and that’s a process.”