Sen. Ellen Robert, R-Durango, was apparently on the short list to be selected as Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez’s running mate.
The deadline for selecting someone to run with him was midnight Tuesday, and Beauprez announced that his running mate will be Douglas County Commissioner Jill Ripella.
Roberts, who is running unopposed for her second state Senate term in November, said she never got a call from Beauprez or his people.
”I started getting texts yesterday from people saying things like, ‘You’ve got my vote,’” she said with a laugh. “Then I got one that asked if we needed to talk. I sent back a text ‘??? Clue me in.’”
She finally realized that Denver Post political columnist and blogger Lynn Bartels had written a post on the newspaper’s “thespot” pointing out five women whose names had been mentioned as possible Beauprez running mates. In addition to Roberts and Ripella, Bartels named Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer, former Rep. B.J. Nikkel of Loveland and Diedra Garcia, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver.
“I did co-host a reception for him here because I wanted him to win the primary,” Roberts said. “But not with any intention of something like this. I just thought he was the best candidate and would be the best governor.”
Would she be interested?
“It’s something I would have considered,” she said. “The Western Slope has been missing in the conversation at the state Capitol for a long time. It used to be unspoken, they used to be polite enough not to put in writing. But before the primary, I saw something from a guy I know is a Democratic poster who wrote, based on sheer political numbers, ‘Who cares what the rural areas think? They don’t matter anymore.’”
Bartels posted this tweet Tuesday: “Democrat just called. Relieved that the GOP running mate is not Sen. Ellen Roberts, A+ legislator.”
“I’m pleased and proud to have supported Beauprez,” Roberts said. “And I was flattered to be in the running. I’ve met the woman he selected, and she’s fine. But my focus is on Beauprez and getting him elected.”
The lieutenant governor’s office has rarely been a stepping stone to the governorship in Colorado. Since we became a state in 1876, only five lieutenant governors have gone on to be governor. In 1956, Stephen McNichols was the last lieutenant governor elected to the governorship. John Vanderhoof became governor in 1973 when his running mate, John Love, took the position of the United States’ first Director of the Office of Energy Policy during the Nixon years.