Romanoff, DeGette lead liberal group’s poll on candidates to replace Salazar

Outgoing House Speaker Andrew Romanoff comes out on top, followed by fellow Denver Democrats U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette and Mayor John Hickenlooper in preliminary results from an online poll asking who should replace U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, who plans to give up his seat to become the secretary of the interior.

On Thursday afternoon, liberal activist group ProgressNowAction released a ranking of candidates based on 5,675 votes one day after posting a poll on its Web site. The polling site allows visitors to write in candidates beyond the 13 listed and promises to forward comments to Gov. Bill Ritter, who will appoint Salazar’s successor. The poll runs through Dec. 22 and has a mechanism to keep visitors from voting more than once, according to Michael Huttner, ProgressNowAction’s executive director.

A few surprises crept onto the rankings, including an eighth-place finish by unannounced candidate Mike Miles, who squared off against Salazar in a primary in 2004. Republican Bob Schaffer, who lost to Democrat Mark Udall in an election for Colorado’s other Senate seat last month, landed in 16th place in the tally, ahead of U.S. Rep.-elect Jared Polis and outgoing Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, who are both Democrats. Miles, Schaffer, Polis and Gordon are all write-in candidates in the poll.

Last week, Gordon sent an e-mail to his supporters asking them to vote in a similar ProgressNowAction poll on the secretary of state vacancy and swamped the competition, but Gordon hasn’t announced an interest in an appointment to the Senate vacancy.

Here are the preliminary results. Write-in candidates are indicated with an asterisk.

1. Andrew Romanoff
2. Diana DeGette
3. John Hickenlooper
4. Ed Perlmutter
5. John Salazar
6. Federico Peña
7. Alice Madden
8. Mike Miles *
9. Joan Fitz-Gerald *
10. Peter Groff
11. Bernie Buescher
12. Tom Strickland
13. Bill Ritter
14. Cary Kennedy
15. Michael Bennet
16. Bob Schaffer *
17. Jared Polis *
18. Ken Gordon *

For a rundown on most of the candidates listed in the poll, see Thursday’s story in The Colorado Independent about possible replacements for Salazar.

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