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“I was a very good friend of Ed’s,” former state Sen. Mike Feeley (D) said in a recent phone interview from his Denver office. “I was getting ready to help his campaign.”
But soon after the new map was released, Perlmutter announced he would forgo a Congressional bid for family reasons, leaving Democrats without a candidate.
Instead of an anointed nominee, Democrats had a competitive primary between Feeley, who admits he “never had any burning desire to be in Congress,” and Jefferson County District Attorney Dave Thomas.
Feeley won the primary but lost to former Republican Party Chairman Bob Beauprez in an extremely close race that wasn’t officially decided until five weeks after Election Day.
Four years later, Beauprez ran for governor and Perlmutter decided to run for the open Congressional seat. He won the 2006 race by more a dozen points and hasn’t had a close race since.
“In the long run, it turned out he was the right guy,” Feeley joked. It just took four years longer than everyone expected.