Colorado’s Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat whose state is engaged in an all-out campaign for a Race to the Top Fund grant, has decided to not run for re-election.
It’s too soon to say what his decision will mean for the Centennial State’s chances in the hot competition for a slice of the $4 billion in economic-stimulus program grants. Maybe nothing. Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien told me the state has worked hard to get broad, bipartisan support so that the plan will be carried through no matter who is in office next year.
But some folks had speculated that Colorado might get an edge in the Race to the Top competition, in part to help the endangered Ritter and Sen. Michael Bennet, the former Denver schools chief and a fellow Democrat, who has been on the job for less than a year. (O’Brien and the Department have both made it clear that they don’t expect politics to play a role in the competition.)
Tough to say what this might mean for Bennett, too. It can’t be a good sign for Colorado Dems in general if Ritter is so worried about his chances that he’s not even going to run. Lots of folks have high hopes that Bennet could play a key role in education policy in the Senate and he has been especially interested in teacher issues.