Former Democratic Eagle County Commissioner Arn Menconi isn’t quite ready to jump into the “horse race” of the 3rd Congressional with just under 17 months to go until the general election in 2020 and around nine months until the primaries in March of next year.
“It just seems so early to think about these type of things,” Menconi told RealVail.com last week. “This a new normal I guess where people run two years in advance now.”
Menconi sought the nomination in 2018, petitioning his way onto the ballot and ultimately winding up third in the CD3 primary (8.2%) behind Karl Hanlon (27.7%) and Diane Mitsch Bush (64.1%), who went on to lose to incumbent Republican Scott Tipton by nearly 8 percentage points.
Mitsch Bush, a former Routt County commissioner and state representative for Eagle and Routt counties, has already declared she’s seeking the Democratic nomination to take on Tipton again, predicting another blue wave she can ride during the 2020 presidential race. Hanlon said he’s considering seeking the nomination again.
“I’m just sitting back working on assisting with different peoples’ policy on the Green New Deal and bringing an action plan to it and trying to promote awareness and get reporters to cover policy rather than horse races,” Menconi said.
“That’s where my political efforts are right now is making the climate chaos top of mind for people. I’m working with one U.S. Senate candidate on his environmental policy team right now and that’s Andrew Romanoff,” Menconi added.
Working with former Colorado Speaker of the House and Mental Health Colorado President and CEO Romanoff means Menconi is not likely eyeing another run for U.S. Senate – this time against Republican incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020.
In 2016, Menconi ran on the Green Party ticket against Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (now a U.S. presidential candidate) and got 1.3% of the vote when Bennet beat Republican Darryl Glenn by a margin of 50% to 44.3%. Libertarian Lily Tang Williams got 3.6% in that election.
Asked why he’s working with Romanoff and not Vail native and former state Sen. Mike Johnston, who’s also seeking the Democratic nod to take on Gardner, Menconi said it’s all about environmental and energy policy.
“Johnston doesn’t have a climate policy plan and always plays it safe,” Menconi said. “He’s for the Jordan Cove pipeline.”
But Johnston does have a climate change plan – at least on his campaign website. Jordan Cove is controversial proposal for a natural gas pipeline that would transport gas from Colorado and other states to a planned liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal in Oregon for shipment overseas.
Romanoff sought the 2009 appointment by then Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Democrat Ken Salazar when he was named Secretary of the Interior by former President Barack Obama.
When Bennet got the nod and sought reelection in 2010, he had to beat out Romanoff in the Democratic primary and then narrowly edged Republican Rep. Ken Buck in the general.
Menconi in the past has rejected any spoiler role he might play by challenging fellow Democrats either in the party primaries or by running on another party’s ticket in the general.