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Sen. Bob Rankin joins members and guests in the senate chambers as the second regular session of the 72nd Colorado General Assembly convenes at the Colorado Capitol on January 8, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Kathryn Scott, Special to The Colorado Sun)

State Sen. Bob Rankin, a Carbondale Republican and member of the Colorado legislature’s powerful Joint Budget Committee, will resign from his seat Jan. 10, halfway through his four-year term. 

Rankin, 80, who represents Senate District 5, announced his resignation Thursday. A vacancy committee will select a replacement to serve the rest of his term, which ends in January 2025.

“I have informed the Secretary of the Senate (of) my intention to resign from the Colorado State Senate effective January 10th,” Rankin said in a written statement. “After proudly serving this state for the past 10 years, I have made the decision to move forward with the next chapter of my life.” 

Rankin did not immediately respond to a Colorado Sun request for comment Thursday.

Rankin’s resignation comes after Democrats expanded their majority in the Colorado Senate in the 2022 elections. Democrats will hold a 23-12 majority in the chamber when the legislature reconvenes on Jan. 9, up from their 21-14 majority now.

Because of Democrats’ large majority, Republicans won’t have a real shot at winning back a majority in the Senate until the 2026 election cycle.

Rankin’s resignation also means the Senate Republican caucus will have to select a replacement for Rankin on the JBC, which has already begun its work crafting Colorado’s 2023-24 fiscal year budget. Rankin is the most experienced budget writer on the panel, which he has served on for more than six years.

Rankin’s resignation means that five of the six members on the Colorado legislature’s Joint Budget Committee next year will be serving on the committee for the first time.

“We are all incredibly grateful for Sen. Rankin’s service to this state,” Senate Minority Leader John Cooke, R-Greeley, said in a statement. “His grit, integrity and honesty is something every member of the General Assembly can aspire to.”

By resigning a day after the 2023 legislative session begins, Rankin will ensure his replacement can serve out the remaining two years on his term and then run for two subsequent four-year terms.

That’s because if a a lawmaker leaves the legislature before the end of the halfway point in their term, their replacement is be barred from running for two full, four-year terms later.

Rankin, who served in the House for six years before being appointed to the Senate by a vacancy committee in 2019, is known in the legislature as a pragmatist. He is highly respected by Democrats for his willingness to cross the political divide to work on fiscal issues facing Colorado.

“Sen. Rankin’s commitment to bipartisanship and fiscal responsibility is a model for all of us, and his steady hand on the Joint Budget Committee will be missed,” Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, said in a written statement. “Colorado thanks him for his public service.”

House Speaker-designate Julie McCluskie, a Dillon Democrat who served with Rankin on the JBC, said Rankin “has exemplified the very best of what it means to be a public servant.”

“His dedication and steadfast commitment to always putting Coloradans and good public policy ahead of politics has made our state a better place for everyone,” McCluskie said. “His efforts to craft bipartisan solutions and find common ground are a model, not only for our legislature, but for lawmakers across the country.”

Rankin’s wife, Joyce, is a member of the Colorado State Board of Education. Her term ends in January 2027.

The Colorado Sun — Desk: 720-432-2229 Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills...