U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette has been in Congress for 18 years, and Denver democrats have stood by patiently waiting for her to retire (or die) and finally give someone else a turn to represent Colorado’s 1st Congressional District. 220px-Diana_DeGette,_official_Congressional_photo

DeGette is appropriately liberal for her urban constituents, so despite several Denver politicians itching to challenge her, it’s been nearly impossible for anyone to credibly do so… until now. It seems she has offended a very influential constituency in Denver – the pro-Israel crowd.

The Boulder Jewish News reported over the weekend that DeGette intends to snub Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress early next month. Her reason? A mere scheduling conflict that the BJN describes as “so flimsy as to be fully transparent.” They go on to say:

Her decision is pure, grotesquely partisan politics and a slap in the face to the thousands of pro-Israel constituents – both Jewish and non-Jewish alike –who have helped elect Congresswoman DeGette to office nine consecutive times.

Since the BJN article was first published on the 15th and further highlighted by Colorado Pols, Denver democrats – and especially some prominent donors – have been so furious with DeGette’s tone-deaf decision that they’re actively trying to recruit someone to replace her.

So far, the names we’ve heard proposed are former House Speaker Terrance Carroll, rising star and state Sen. Michael Johnston and Josh Hanfling, a rich guy who ran for House District 6 in 2008 and is well connected to the Denver business community.

Any of the three would make a better and more engaged representative than DeGette, who has certainly grown to take her office for granted.