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Politics and Government

Jena Griswold says she won’t launch a primary bid to unseat Republican Cory Gardner

Polling showed Jena Griswold would have an advantage if she jumped into the crowded primary. But she says she's committed to the work of Secretary of State, her first elected office.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold on Friday ended months of speculation about her immediate political future, announcing she won’t launch a primary bid to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020.

At least one poll showed the Democrat would have been among the leaders in the crowded primary field if she had entered. However, she faced fierce criticism over the notion that she would leave the secretary of state’s office so soon after being elected in November and assuming the position in January.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold on April 30, 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

In July, after the positive polling news was released, she formed an exploratory committee. She said Friday that the group raised more than $200,000 in a two-week period.

“I was surprised and humbled when Coloradans began to approach me about running for the U.S. Senate. I knew I needed to take this encouragement seriously and give it real consideration. After some heartfelt deliberation, I have decided that now is not the right time for me to run for the Senate,” she said in a prepared statement.

Griswold said she is committed to her work as secretary state, and will continue to work on voting rights, campaign finance reform and election security.

“Together, we’ve already passed bipartisan reform to shine light on dark money, we’ve made it more accessible for Coloradans to vote, we lead the nation in election security, all of which makes Colorado a national model on democracy,” she said in the statement. “I am moved by the encouragement I have received, and sincerely want to thank everyone for their support. I look forward to continuing to work to ensure that Coloradans have a democracy they can believe in.”

Speculation about Griswold’s candidacy began back in April.

If Griswold had joined the race, she would have joined more than 10 already-announced candidates. 

MORE: Here’s who’s running to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020 — and who’s thinking about it

Others also rumored to be mulling jumping into the contest include former Colorado. Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Reps. Ed Perlmutter, of Arvada, and Joe Neguse, of Boulder. 

Gardner is considered one of the most endangered U.S. Senate Republicans up for reelection in 2020 and the race to unseat him is expected to both expensive and very high profile.