Steamboat Springs Whether local Democrats will gain a seat in the state Senate in 2008 remains to be seen. Regardless of what happens in November, the Routt County Democrats will lose their leader of the last five years to the campaign trail.
Former City Councilman Ken Brenner has resigned as chairman of the local party to focus on his run for Senate District 8, where he will face four-term state Rep. Al White, R-Hayden. Brenner said the campaign's time demands preclude him from continuing as the Routt County Democrats chairman.
"The time conflict is huge," he said.
Vice chairwoman Catherine Carson is serving as acting chairwoman until the local party can hold an election for the fulfillment of Brenner's term, which expires at the end of 2008. Carson said she looks forward to the contest and is encouraging members to step forward for the post.
"The strength of the Dems is our inclusiveness," Carson said.
His state Senate campaign notwithstanding, Brenner said he has led the party for a long time and that a regime change is appropriate.
"It's time," Brenner said. "I've been the chair for five years. Look at the transition in the Democratic Party in five years. It's astounding."
Senate District 8 includes all of Moffat, Routt, Jackson and Rio Blanco counties, as well as parts of Eagle and Garfield counties. 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.
Pat Waak, chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party, said Brenner has the state party's support and that she doesn't expect him to be challenged in a primary.
Brenner is staking much of his campaign on vows to protect the Western Slope from Front Range interests. Brenner said Routt County Democrats will be instrumental in the tough Senate race.
"We have a really enthusiastic group right now," Brenner said. "I'm happy that they're going to be there to support me for my race."