Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Three top list for Salazar's Senate seat

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden), outgoing state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D-Denver), and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper top the list of potential candidates to fill Ken Salazar’s U.S. Senate seat, the Denver Post is reporting.

Salazar was officially nominated for U.S. Secretary of the Interior by President-elect Barack Obama on Wednesday. Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter will have to appoint his successor.

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver), U.S. Rep. John Salazar (D-Manassa), and Obama transition team member and former Denver Mayor Federico Pena have also been talked about as potential candidates for the position.

Romanoff, currently a finalist to be appointed Colorado Secretary of State, told the Post that he was making calls gauging support.

"I told the governor that I would be happy to serve in any capacity that he deems fit," Romanoff said to the Post. "Ken Salazar would be a tough act to follow."

Perlmutter adviser Scott Chase told the Post that he had spoken with members of the Ritter administration about appointing his boss.

“Ed is on that very, very short list," Chase said to the Post. "He's a centrist, middle-of-the-road-type Democrat and a strong fit for the state."

Hickenlooper ignored jokes made by City Council members Tuesday about him possibly going to the Senate.

"Senator Salazar has helped Denver and Colorado immeasurably throughout his career, and I am confident he will continue to do so whether he remains a U.S. senator or moves to a cabinet position,” Hickenlooper spokesperson Sue Cobb said in a statement. “Until he should choose to leave his post in the Senate, it would be premature to speculate on who might replace him."

Ritter said in a statement Wednesday that he would “act swiftly” to appoint Salazar’s successor.

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