by Ralph Routon
The state political scene is buzzing tonight with the news that Gov. Bill Ritter will announce Wednesday he will not seek a second term and is withdrawing from Colorado's 2010 governor race.
The story, first reported by a Washington blog and quickly picked up by the Denver Post, says Ritter has been calling prominent Democrats Tuesday to let them know his decision. No reason has been given, but Ritter reportedly is trailing Republican Scott McInnis in recent polls.
Nobody from the governor's camp is returning calls, but the word is that Ritter will make his plans known Wednesday at an 11 a.m. news conference. His campaign staff members were reportedly sent home at noon Tuesday.
Early speculation as to possible Democratic candidates for governor is focusing on Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Interior Secretary and former U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, and perhaps current Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff, the former Colorado House Speaker.
State Rep. Michael Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs, said he had met with Ritter on Monday, and was at a press conference with the governor Tuesday, and he had no indication something was up.
"We talked about making sure we were on the same page so we could give him as much support as we could," Merrifield said of the Monday meeting, which included several other legislators. He added that the message from Ritter was about having a "good, strong, united front."
As of Tuesday night, Ritter's campaign Web site still was taking donations.
Check back on the IndyBlog, and in Thursday's issue of the Independent for more.