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An exec from Qwest said that the Denver telco has landed a key Republican lawmaker to sponsor legislation that would give it a statewide cable-TV franchise.

David Balmer, R-Centennial, assistant House minority leader, has agreed to sponsor the bill, said Qwest Colorado President Chuck Ward. When asked if any Democrats had agreed to co-sponsor the bill, Ward said, "We're continuing to talk to legislators."

Qwest wants statewide TV franchise authority to avert the cumbersome process of negotiating municipal franchises, while Comcast has argued Qwest will just cherry-pick the most affluent neighborhoods.

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