Ed Perlmutter announced Monday that he would not run for re-election in Congress in November for his suburban Denver seat, ending 16 years of service in that position as a moderate Democrat.
“I think some of the new approaches will be good for Congress,” Perlmutter, 68, said in an interview with the Denver Post on Monday. “We made a good bench of deserving leaders. They want to take on more responsibility. You want the new leadership to rise.”
Dick Wadhams, a former Colorado Republican Party chairman and a political analyst, called Monday’s announcement a “key moment” in Colorado politics. Only Democrat Representative Diana Daggett has been in Congress longer than Perlmutter in the state’s current delegation, while Republican Representative Doug Lambourn was first elected in the same year that Perlmutter was — in 2006.
“It’s a big deal to put aside such a current move,” Wadhams said. “It shakes both sides. That’s what makes things fun and exciting in Colorado politics.”
Sen. Michael Bennett, a fellow Democrat, called Perlmutter “my mentor for the entire time I’ve been in Congress” on Monday.
“The signs in his yard read ‘Our neighbors … our voices,'” Bennett said. “And Ed has always stayed true to that vision of leadership—whether working to expand health care to more than 500,000 Coloradans, opening a new VA medical center to serve Colorado veterans, or fighting climate change. To develop renewable energy technologies for
Perlmutter’s announcement comes as the boundaries of the 7th Congressional District are set to change in the November election following the Tenth Census due to a redistribution effort that took place in 2021. Still anchored in Jefferson County, the newly configured district will take up all or part of the Republican-leaning counties in the southwest of the metro area, including Taylor, Park, Custer and Chaffee counties.
Ed Perlmutter’s relentless optimism, relentless commitment and many years of public service are just some of the reasons he holds so much dear to our state.
He has been such a great mentor, and a true friend to me and countless others.
Ed Thanks for your service. https://t.co/q8jITxxAai
— Joe Neguse (@JoeNeguse) 10 January 2022
Meanwhile, the new 7th assigns a portion of the Democratic-leaning Adams County to the newly formed 8th Congressional District north of Denver. Still, Colorado’s redistribution commission gives the new 7th congressional district a 6.9% Democratic advantage for November’s election.
Perlmutter acknowledged in his email that the district’s new configuration would have made his election “a little tighter” in November, but said he was confident he would still win. But Colorado Republican Party President Christy Burton Brown immediately took on the announcement as an acknowledgment that things were set to change dramatically in the next Congress.
“Ed Perlmutter knew he was going to lose in 2022, so he made the decision to retire instead,” she said. “In 2022, Colorado Republicans will win the CD-07 and provide a representative to the district that will actually deliver.”
The Wadhams said Perlmutter’s search for a ninth term would have been more difficult given the new district alignment, but he had the power to make it work for him.
“No one has used their power like Ed Perlmutter,” he said.
He suspects the decision may be as simple as that Perlmutter had enough of a constant back and forth from Colorado to Washington, D.C. and with Democrats likely to lose control of the House next year, which helped trigger his decision. could do
In 2017, Perlmutter announced his intention to walk away from Congress to run for governor of Colorado, but then dropped that plan a few months later. He nevertheless said that he did not try to return to Congress after leaving the governor’s mansion, but changed his mind again a few weeks later.
He won his House seat back the next year.
On Monday, Perlmutter said he had decided to retire about two weeks ago, but the announcement was delayed after a gunman killed five people in a metro area on a post-Christmas shooting spree. His announcement was pushed to the new year a few days later by devastating wildfires in Boulder County.
Perlmutter, who was a state senator for eight years since 1995, is a Colorado native and said in his declaration that it was his privilege to serve in public office for 25 years.
“We’ve helped expand renewable energy research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, created thousands of well-paying jobs,[and]helped grow Colorado’s aerospace community, including securing funding for the Orion project.” and moving forward with human space exploration,” Perlmutter said.
The congressman repeatedly tried to get the Cannabis Banking Bill passed in Congress while playing a key role in planning and building the VA Medical Center in Aurora.
On Monday, Perlmutter said he would like to give a special thanks to his employees for all the work they have done over the years.
“We were accessible and responsive and worked with everyone and the record reflects this,” he said. “I want to see them all do well.”
As far as his plans for the future go, Perlmutter said he has only begun to think about it. He can join the board of directors of a law firm or a company.
“Or maybe I’ll be a Walmart greeter or a park ranger,” he said.