Rep. Ed Perlmutter represented Colorado’s 7th District in the U.S. House. (perlmutter.house.gov)
Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter has announced that he will not seek reelection to Congress later this year, a surprise reversal that sets up a potentially competitive race in the recently redrawn 7th District.
Perlmutter has represented the 7th District, centered on the western suburbs of Denver, since 2006. He previously announced in November that he would run for a ninth term under the district’s new boundaries, which were drawn last year by Colorado’s inaugural independent redistricting commission, but said Monday he had reversed course “after much thought and consideration.”
“I’ve never shied away from a challenge but it’s time for me to move on and explore other opportunities,” Perlmutter said in a statement. “There comes a time when you pass the torch to the next generation of leaders.”
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Prior to running for Congress, Perlmutter served two terms in the state Senate, representing Jefferson County. In 2017, he launched a bid for governor of Colorado, but withdrew several months later, after then-Rep. Jared Polis’ entry into the race, and despite briefly announcing his retirement from politics, ultimately opted to run for a seventh congressional term.
Under the new map, the boundaries of the 7th District shifted south and west to encompass several rural mountain counties. The new district is somewhat less favorable towards Democrats than the old one, based on recent voting and registration data, but still has a significant partisan lean; Democratic Sen. John Hickenlooper defeated former GOP Sen. Cory Gardner in the new district by 10 percentage points, according to data released by the redistricting commission.
Republicans pointed to Perlmutter’s decision as proof of the challenging electoral environment facing Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections. Perlmutter is the 26th House Democrat to announce his retirement during this election cycle.
“He made the smart decision to retire rather than lose reelection,” Courtney Parella, a spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a statement.
But Perlmutter praised the “strong group of leaders” in the 7th District who he said would make sure the seat stays in Democratic hands.
“Even though the numbers are slightly tighter we will win,” Perlmutter’s statement said.
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