McNulty won’t challenge Buck, others for Gardner’s seat

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Former Speaker of the House Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, talks with reporters at the end of the 2012 legislative session.

DENVER — Former statehouse Speaker Frank McNulty has decided not to run for Colorado’s Fourth District congressional seat being vacated by Congressman Cory Gardner, FOX31 Denver has confirmed.

McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, said that he’s decided not to run in a text message Sunday.

Gardner’s decision earlier this month to jump into the U.S. Senate race and challenge the increasingly vulnerable Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat, presents a great opportunity for a number of Colorado Republicans who, should they win the GOP nomination in a June primary, would take over what is now the safest Republican seat in the state.

Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, who’d been running for Senate and agreed to swap races with Gardner, is the best-known candidate in the field at the moment and the front-runner to win the primary.

He’s being challenged by state Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, and Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer and businessman Steve Laffey, who ran for governor in Rhode Island back in 2006.

State Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, and Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway, the leader of last year’s short-lived northern Colorado secession movement, have decided not to run for Gardner’s seat.

Former state Rep. B.J. Nikkel, R-Loveland, is also weighing a run and is expected to make a decision in the coming days.

McNulty, who served as Speaker of the House in 2011 and 2012, is in his final term at the state legislature.

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