Steamboat Springs State Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park, said Monday he is all but certain he will run for state Senate in 2008.
In a statement that fell just short of a full-fledged candidacy announcement, a spokesman for White said the longtime representative "is being encouraged by Republican leadership to take aim at the Senate seat" that will be open after state Sen. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, completes his term in 2008. White confirmed that he is strongly considering a run for Taylor's seat.
"I think it's about 98 percent, frankly," White said, adding that a formal announcement will likely come early next month. "It's about timing more than anything."
White would be a formidable opponent in a race for the state Senate. After first being elected in 2000, White has won the past three campaigns for House District 57, which includes Routt, Moffat, Grand, Garfield, Rio Blanco and Jackson counties. In November 2006, he won a strong victory against Democratic challenger Andy Gold of Tabernash, despite an election that saw widespread victories for Democrats across the county, the state and the nation. White has won majorities in Routt County in at least his past two elections.
In July, White reported $12,765 in available campaign funds to the Colorado Secretary of State's Office.
During his time at the Capitol, White has served as a member of three House committees: Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources; Education; and Legislative Audit. The 2007 Legislative session was White's first on the Joint Budget Committee, which administers funding for nearly all of the legislation approved at the Capitol.
A candidacy for Senate District 8 would mirror White's first bid for the state House. He sought that seat after Taylor was term-limited in the House. Now, seven years later, White is eyeing a run for Taylor's term-limited seat in the Senate. The Northwest Colorado Senate district includes Routt, Moffat, Grand, Eagle, Rio Blanco and Jackson counties.
"Should he choose to run, he has my full and complete support," said Taylor, who has partnered with White on numerous bills throughout the years, including a 2006 bill that cemented a permanent source of tourism promotion funding for the state.
The bill will pump more than $20 million into Colorado's tourism coffers this year.
"I am honored to have served as state representative for House District 57 for the past seven years," White said. "After talking to legislators and party leaders, I will decide the first week of September whether I can aid the constituents of the Western Slope further by representing them as their state senator in the 8th District."