From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
A campaign source says that up-and-comer Josh Penry decided against a CO-GOV primary challenge against Scott McInnis, his former boss in Congress, because he was scared off, in part, by a 527 that was ramping up for McInnis that was set to go after Penry. He is sitting out the 2010 cycle and is NOT running for CO-3 despite the rumors.
The news of Penry dropping out of the race was first reported by the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza.
The source added that Penry's Name ID, they were seeing, was only about 15% to 20% statewide, and Penry felt that a 527 and a nasty political fight could have ruined or significantly damaged his reputation and hurt his political capital with Republicans. This path helps Penry, who's only 33, build up political capital, the source said.
The source cites the elections on Tuesday as the turning point for Penry to decide to step aside. He said they demonstrated a need for the GOP to unify around one candidate. Though the source cited specifically the results in New Jersey and Virginia, NY-23 certainly fits that rationale as well.
The source added that the Penry didn't want to split Republican money and then have to run, if he survived the primary, against an entrenched incumbent.
"He'll live to fight another day," the source said of Penry, adding he's "not looking at switching from the governor's race to the third congressional district. ... This allows him to build up enormous political capital for year to come."
Penry told McInnis in person of his decision today.