Lieutenant governor launches bid to replace Hickenlooper

DENVER — Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne announced Thursday she is joining the crowded race for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Gov. John Hickenlooper cannot run in 2018 because of term limits. He appointed Lynne as lieutenant governor and chief operating officer in 2015 to replace Joe Garcia, who left to become president of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

Lynne, a former health insurance executive, said then she wasn’t interested in becoming governor. But she got into the race at the urging of Hickenlooper, who has not formally endorsed his No. 2.

During an announcement to launch her campaign, Lynne vowed to protect Colorado’s undocumented immigrants.

The crowded Democratic field includes Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder, former State Sen. Mike Johnston and former state treasurer Cary Kennedy.

On the Republican side, 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler, businessmen Doug Robinson and Victor Mitchell are in the race.

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is also considering a bid and State Treasurer Walker Stapleton is expected to launch a bid in October.