by Kirk Woundy
Dashing the hopes of Colorado news junkies, Andrew Romanoff called his noontime press conference today to announce that his plans haven't changed: He's still trying to unseat appointed Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.
When Gov. Bill Ritter announced that he would not seek re-election, many political observers wondered whether Romanoff would leave the Senate race to campaign for the governor's seat. Indeed, some right-leaning political players considered the young, well-spoken former House speaker to be the Dems' most dangerous potential candidate. Quoted in this past week's Indy cover story, Patrick Davis said that with Ritter gone, Republicans are "most afraid of Andrew Romanoff."
"He's easy to like," Davis says. "He's very in tune with the way Democrats have been winning elections in Colorado. He's very in touch with the progressive side of the party."
But Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's announcement that he would run basically doused that idea, because Hickenlooper and Romanoff reportedly have a fairly strong friendship. What it ignited instead was speculation that Hickenlooper would ask Romanoff to join his ticket as lieutenant governor.
Today, Romanoff endorsed Hickenlooper, but said his main goal in calling the press conference was to affirm his commitment to the Senate race. Though Romanoff joked about having received "hundreds of e-mails" urging him to run for governor — assuring the small crowd that not all of them were from Bennet — Indy reporter Anthony Lane says Romanoff was fairly terse in answering reporters' questions.
He has an uphill climb, having entered the primary race late against Bennet, who is well-financed. Romanoff entered the day as a 20-to-1 pick (according to coloradopols.com) to win the seat.