State Representative Jon Becker (R-Fort Morgan) announced yesterday that he won't be seeking re-election after the Reapportionment Commission drew him into the same district as Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling). While the Democrats had hoped their politically vindictive maps via the Mario-Mander would cause a rash of nasty primaries on the Republican side, most intra-party fights have been squelched by retirements.
Earlier this month, state Senator Keith King (R-CO Springs) also announced he wouldn't give Democrats the satisfaction of watching him primary another Republican and instead would step down after many years of service at the Capitol.
Representative Becker said in a statement:
“While I am disappointed that the reapportionment process resulted in Jerry and me drawn into the same House district, I am honored to represent the people of Eastern Colorado.
Though I will not seek reelection in 2012, I look forward to serving the people of the new House District 65 over the coming years and putting my experience on the Joint Budget Committee and House Appropriations to work for Eastern Colorado.”
Becker was a first term freshman who had risen quickly at the Capitol, most recently being named Chairman of the high profile House Appropriations Committee. He spent the first legislative session on the Joint Budget Committee, a plum assignment for a freshman legislator.
The announcement of his not seeking re-election, while a blow to the Eastern Plains, as well as to the GOP caucus, which is losing an important voice, is a good sign of the more-or-less smooth transition since Democrats used the reapportionment process to try to stoke intra-party fights on the GOP side.
Other than the Marsha Looper v Amy Stephens impending primary, the GOP has been able to avoid incumbent-on-incumbent match ups set up through the Democrats' reapportionment maps.
Speaker McNulty, who certainly must be thankful for the thus-far tranquil transition, praised Becker's service in a statement, saying:
"In just one year, Jon has proven himself to be an outstanding legislator. As a member of the Joint Budget Committee, Jon played an integral role in balancing the state’s budget in a responsible way. As chair of the House Appropriations Committee and a JBC member, Jon will continue to fight for a fiscally responsible state budget in the next legislative session.”
Thanks to selfless public servants like Jon Becker and Keith King, 2012 is shaping up to be a lot better for Republicans than Democrats on the Reapportionment Commission had planned.