by Ralph Routon
Gov. Bill Ritter confirmed Wednesday what everyone already knew, that he's out of the governor race for 2010. And the Democrats are wasting no time finding their choice for a candidate to take Ritter's place.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, after just a year in President Obama's administrator, apparently is weighing whether to resign his Cabinet post and return to run for governor. Next in line is Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, who called a news conference Wednesday to say that he will defer to Salazar before making a decision on his own plans.
Salazar, who served as Colorado attorney general before running for the U.S. Senate (and winning) in 2004, reportedly thought seriously of pursuing the governor's office before that Senate race. Today the Denver Post has reported that the White House has given Salazar its approval to leave Interior and return to Colorado.
If Salazar does come back to run for governor, Hickenlooper says he would be totally supportive.
"Ken Salazar is Ken Salazar," Hickenlooper said to media. "Should Ken Salazar decide to run, I would probably be his first volunteer."
But if Salazar stays in Washington, Hickenlooper says he'll decide as soon as possible on his direction.