DENVER–Gov. John Hickenlooper denied speculation Wednesday that he agreed to give a state job to former Democratic state Sen. Evie Hudak in exchange for her resignation.
“We just wouldn’t do that. There’s no one in my administration that would negotiate a political favor for a job,” the Democrat Hickenlooper told KOA-AM talk-show host Mike Rosen.
Rosen asked the governor whether Hudak received a quid pro quo for her Nov. 27 resignation in the face of a recall threat. Recall Hudak Too was prepared to submit signatures Dec. 3 to force a recall election.
Hudak’s pre-recall departure allows a Democratic vacancy committee to choose her successor, which means Democrats will keep their 18-17 majority in the state Senate.
Hickenlooper insisted that no deals were reached with Hudak or with other Democrats to secure her a job in his administration.
“I can honestly say that no one’s said anything to me and to my knowledge, no one’s said anything to our staff, and certainly it could not have been any kind of a deal for a state job because we didn’t know about it,” said Hickenlooper.
He bristled at the suggestion that he would have struck such a bargain, saying, “Just even the suggestion of that makes people hate government even more.”
“I’m sure everybody’s done it, but we’re working real hard not to do those things,” said Hickenlooper.
Rosen noted that rumors have been rampant about what may have been said during the Democratic Party’s behind-the-scenes negotiations with Hudak prior to her resignation. The party’s control of the state Senate was hanging by one vote after the successful Sept. 10 recalls of state Sens. Angela Giron and John Morse.
“I am speculating–and I can’t possibly know this–that in the discussion that took place between Democrat Party leaders and Evie Hudak encouraging her to resign so the Democrats could keep that seat–this is just the way politics operate–I’m speculating and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if after a decent interval, she’s offered some kind of a plum state job,” said Rosen.
Hickenlooper, who spoke with Rosen as part of their monthly interview, had said little until Wednesday about Hudak’s situation.
“I don’t think she would try and negotiate for a job or do anything like that,” said Hickenlooper. “I’m sure she’s going to be looking to try and find what she’s going to do next. I know she didn’t talk to me, none of her people talked to me, and to my knowledge, they didn’t talk to anybody in our administration.”
He added, “If someone had been negotiating with my staff, they would have told me. We run a fairly tight ship on this staff.”
Hudak’s only public activity since her resignation came earlier this week when she attended a two-day meeting in Keystone of the LEAD Compact Working Group, which is crafting proposed legislation on teacher licensing.
Hudak was named to the group in her capacity as Senate Education Committee chair, but remains on the panel as an individual, said Christine Scanlan, president and CEO of the Keystone Center, which has organized and staffed the meetings.