Opening Day Jeff Bridges

Jeff Bridges, who left the state House to become a senator, is among the lawmakers who won't see a pay raise as a result, unlike many of their peers.  (Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

State Rep. Jeff Bridges, a Greenwood Village Democrat, was selected Saturday by a Democratic vacancy committee to replace the departing state Sen. Daniel Kagan, D-Cherry Hills Village.

Kagan announced last month he would resign his Senate District 26 seat effective Jan. 11. He participated in opening day festivities Friday at the State Capitol as the 2019 General Assembly convened.

Bridges won election to his second term representing House District 3 in November. He was appointed to serve the two years remaining in Kagan's term and can run for two full Senate terms after that.

Bridges prevailed on the first ballot over three other candidates with 70 percent of the vote.

The others who sought the vacancy appointment were Iman Jodeh, who runs a nonprofit and would have become the first Muslim Coloradan to serve in the Legislature; author Angela Engel; and Littleton City Councilman Kyle Schlachter

State Democratic Party chair Morgan Carroll congratulated Bridges.

"He’s been an excellent representative of his district for the past two years, and I know he will continue his track record of excellent service to the people of Senate District 26," said Carroll, a former Senate president, in a written statement.

"I also want to thank Daniel Kagan for his decade of serving the people of Colorado. The people of Colorado will miss his thoughtful and analytic approach in the General Assembly, and his command of the issues and the law will be sorely missed in the lawmaking process."

It's has been a week for musical chairs at the General Assembly.

On Thursday, Cathy Kipp, a member of the Poudre School District board of directors, was selected by a Democratic House District 52 vacancy committee to replace former state Rep. Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins, who was selected to replace outgoing Sen. John Kefalas of Fort Collins in Larimer County's Senate District 14. Kefalas was elected to the Larimer County Board of County Commissioners in November.

Carroll said Saturday: “Considering that many refer to the 2018 election as the ‘Year of the Woman’, it is only fitting that Fort Collins will now be represented completely by Democratic women in the General Assembly. I know Cathy has a strong record of public service, most recently serving as a Poudre School District board member, and I am confident she will continue to serve Larimer County well in the General Assembly."

With Bridges' move to the Senate, that makes two House openings in the past week.

On the Republican side, state Rep. Bob Rankin of Carbondale was chosen by a GOP vacancy committee Wednesday to replace state Sen. Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs, who announced in December that he will officially step down on Jan. 21. Rankin's wife, Joyce Rankin, a member of the State Board of Education, is among those who intend to compete for her husband's House District 57 seat.

A Democratic House District 3 vacancy committee is scheduled to meet Monday to pick a successor to Bridges.

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