“Run, Ed, run.”

“We want Ed.”

Democrats have been chanting this for weeks now, encouraging U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Golden to enter the 2018 gubernatorial race.

There seems to be more of a buzz surrounding the Jefferson County Democrat these days, though Perlmutter has been playing things close to the vest.

A Facebook page has been created, “Draft Ed Perlmutter for Governor.”

“Run, Ed, Run! Ed Perlmutter’s always a true congressman with character. Now a whole lot of us want him to be a governor with guts. Draft Ed for Gov!” the page states.

“Ed’s district has always been a top target for House Republicans. And he’s always won it, and BIG! If nominated, Ed Perlmutter will keep the Governor’s Mansion blue — and he’ll stand up to Donald Trump like few others can,” a post on the page states.

Backers of the page are even paying for Facebook sponsorship status, though who the backers are has been a mystery to many in the Jefferson County Democratic community.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is term-limited in 2018, which leaves an open seat and a potential free-for-all.

Those close to Perlmutter say he is certainly considering a gubernatorial run, but because it would mean giving up his House seat in a swing district, the congressman is considering several factors.

One factor is former Interior Secretary and U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, a friend of Perlmutter’s, who is also being encouraged to run for governor. Some in Perlmutter’s inner circle say part of Perlmutter’s decision is dependent on what Salazar decides.

Those close to Salazar say the former interior secretary has been hesitant to join the race, pointing to a hangover from the recent presidential election. Salazar was chair of Hillary Clinton’s transition team, and a top Clinton surrogate. We all know how that race turned out. Salazar also has family commitments that are holding him back from running.

Former state Sen. Mike Johnston of Denver, a Democrat, has already announced his run for governor. Also, Democrat Noel Ginsburg, a Denver manufacturing entrepreneur and civic leader, has declared his candidacy in the 2018 gubernatorial race.

State Sen. Joe Salazar of Thornton is another name that comes up in Democratic circles, as does  former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy and state Sen. Mike Merrifield of Colorado Springs.

On the Republican side, no top names have yet joined the race, though Treasurer Walker Stapleton and Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler are considering runs. DaVita Healthcare Partners chief executive Kent Thiry is also said to be considering a run for governor on the Republican ticket. Former Republican state Rep. Victor Mitchell has also launched a campaign.

A total of nine candidates have so far filed paperwork to run in the gubernatorial race: four Democrats; one Republican; one Green Party candidate; one American Constitution Party candidate; a Unity Party candidate; and an unaffiliated candidate.

If Perlmutter does decide to run for governor, then that opens up his seat for what could be a bitter fight between Democrats. State Sen. Andy Kerr of Lakewood is rumored to be interested in the seat, as is state Rep. Brittany Pettersen, also of Lakewood.

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