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Colo. State Senator in Congress Run

February 18, 2002

DENVER (AP) _ State Senate President Stan Matsunaka dropped out of the race for governor Monday, saying he will instead run for Congress, a suggestion made by national Democratic leaders.

``As the 4th District’s next congressman, I’ll do everything in my power to create coalitions to address the needs of my constituents, not the privileged interests,″ Matsunaka said.

Matsunaka’s decision leaves Boulder businessman Rollie Heath as the expected Democratic challenger to Gov. Bill Owens, who four years ago became the state’s first Republican governor in 24 years.

Others running for the congressional seat include state Republican Sen. Marilyn Musgrave and Republican attorney Jeff Bedingfield.

Guy Short, Musgrave’s campaign manager, said Matsunaka’s decision to switch has left voters in the district confused.

``He said he wasn’t interested in the 4th Congressional District. At least now, he finally knows what he is interested in doing,″ Short said.

Matsunaka said he changed his mind about the gubernatorial race after House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt called him.

``Congressman Gephardt talked to me about the issues that I care about deeply and which I have championed even before I went into politics,″ Matsunaka said.

The 4th Congressional District includes several cities and towns north and east of Denver.


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