Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Salazar's departure may open up 2010 GOP Senate race

While speculation runs rampant about which Democrat Gov. Bill Ritter will appoint to fill Ken Salazar’s U.S. Senate seat, his departure to head the Interior Department also makes the discussion about the 2010 GOP U.S. Senate race a lot more interesting.

Salazar would’ve been a tough opponent to beat in 2010: he was already taking in campaign cash hand over fist, and despite wishful thinking from some conservatives, he would’ve likely kept -- if not increased -- his support among Democrats and moderates. NBC political analyst Chuck Todd said earlier this month that he’d be “shocked if Republicans found a decent candidate to run against Ken Salazar” in 2010.

But with Salazar not running in 2010, many once-reluctant Republicans will likely take a second look at a run.

Some Republicans being talked about as potential candidates include (in no particular order): former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, Colorado Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, former interim state treasurer Mark Hillman, former Gov. Bill Owens, and former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez.

Another factor to weigh in is that most of the above names have also been brought up at one time or another as potential 2010 gubernatorial candidates.

UPDATE: The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel's Mike Saccone is asking the same question over at Political Notebook.

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