The race to fill Jeffco’s Senate District 22 may be one of the most exciting campaigns of the 2012 cycle. It’ll certainly be the most interesting.
As covered this morning by Lynn Bartels of the Denver newspaper, State Representative Ken Summers fully intends to take on State Representative Andy Kerr in the race to fill the almost vacant SD-22.
Summers entrance into the Senate race comes as no surprise. He would’ve had to take on a sitting state representative for either the Senate seat or Max Tyler’s HD-23, and the numbers are that much more favorable for him in SD-22.
As it stands, the race between Summers and Kerr pits two influential Jeffco lawmakers against one another. Both are serving their third term in the House, and both have created far-reaching relationships through their respective leadership positions. Kerr was widely anticipated to become speaker, following his tenure as assistant majority leader, had Democrats kept the House, and Summers currently chairs the House Health and Environment Committee. In short, unlike the race between Robert Ramirez and Evie Hudak in SD-19, Kerr and Summers stand just about equal in stature as public servants: they have the same connections and breadth of experience.
Their similar resumes – and the fact that SD-22 is one of Colorado’s most competitive State Senate races in 2012 - should make for an enthralling campaign this cycle. Endorsements and money will likely pour into the race from both sides – Summers, for example, today announced an endorsement from Representative Jim Kerr, who once stood as a candidate for the SD-22 vacancy.
It’s going to be a tough fight. Andy Kerr, by all accounts, is widely recognized as both incredibly charismatic and a talented campaigner, as evidenced by his tenure as the number three member of the House and 2010 stewardship of the House Majority Project. In fact, Kerr’s become such a force in Jefferson County politics that his name is often tossed around as a likely candidate for Ed Perlmutter’s CD-7 seat, should it ever become vacant.
Summers, on the other hand, isn’t often recognized for any inherent charm. Although he’s certainly comfortable on the dais – he’s been a local pastor for years - he’s not as captivating as Kerr, a former school teacher. He’s a little too pastoral, in every sense of the word. Still, Summers will be retaining a good number of familiar precincts in the Senate district, and he’ll be much more at home in Ken Caryl than Kerr.
In short, the race between two incumbents for an incredibly competitive Senate seat should prove to be one of Jeffco’s most engaging in 2012. Further, the fact that the same seat will be up again in 2014 will ensure that whoever wins in 2012 is going to have to hit the ground running to retain their title but two years later.
(Cross-posted form Jeffco Pols)