Laffey drops out of governor’s race, after three days

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Steve Laffey is the former mayor of Cranston, RI and lost a Republican Senate primary in 2006.

DENVER — Well, that was fast.

Steve Laffey, who announced his candidacy for Colorado governor on Tuesday, dropped out of the race on Friday morning.

Laffey, who moved to Colorado in 2010 from Rhode Island, is stepping aside because of Tom Tancredo’s decision to run.

On Wednesday, as Laffey spent the day meeting with Republican consultants in Denver, he told FOX31 Denver that he wasn’t concerned with “political questions” about a likely primary and that he merely felt compelled to run to save Colorado from Democratic overreach that, he believes, will hurt the state’s economy in the long run.

But that’s changed.

Laffey lost a bruising, divisive primary in 2006 when he tried to challenge U.S. Lincoln Chaffee, R-Rhode Island.

Here is the press release he sent out Friday morning:

After Tom’s entrance into the Governor’s race yesterday, I consulted with my wife and close friends. After discussion and prayer I have decided to withdraw from the 2014 Governor’s race in Colorado.

I have been in two contentious primaries, against people with whom I disagreed immensely and were leading us in the wrong direction. When I entered this race there was no one else who had the capability to bring the case for Limited Government, Freedom and Jobs to the people of Colorado. In this case, Tom and I agree on much, plus he is a good and honorable man, has a great background for the job, and will work towards producing more freedom for the people of Colorado. 

That would leave us with a divisive primary, arguing over mostly non-issues, splitting the fundraising in Colorado so that little is left for the general election (given Colorado’s restrictive campaign laws), and dividing the Republican Party— ending with, for different reasons, the same disastrous results in 2014. Tom stepped in in 2010 on strong principled reasons; this will give a Republican the best chance to win in November.

This decision is best for Colorado.

Even with Laffey’s exit, Republicans are likely to have “a robust primary,” as state GOP Chairman Ryan Call has predicted.

Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who filed papers Thursday to leave open the possibility of a run for governor, isn’t likely to step aside for Tancredo, who’s never won a statewide race.

State Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, is also considering a run, as are a few other members of the state’s business and education communities.