U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, mentioned early and often as a potential Democratic replacement for Gov. Bill Ritter — who announced Wednesday morning he won’t seek a second term — issued the following statement calling the development “a nightmare for the Republican Party” and leaving his options open:
“First of all I want to thank Gov. Ritter for his service and leadership to our state. I know this was a difficult decision for him, and as a father of three girls, I respect this very personal decision for him and his family.
“This is a nightmare for the Republican party. This decision is a game changer, and I believe Colorado Democrats have a deep bench of potential candidates who can win this race. I am confident we will have a candidate who will present real solutions for Colorado instead of the Republicans who want to focus on the status quo by just saying no. We will retain this seat and continue to move our state forward and ensure Colorado remains one of the best states to live in.
“I am honored to have my name mentioned as a potential candidate. I love this state and I want to continue to serve my community and state and make it a great place to live for everybody. It’s a premature decision to make at this time, but one I will carefully consider.”
Meanwhile, the Denver Post reported the White House has cleared Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to leave his cabinet post and seek the governor’s office if he decides it’s in the best interest of the state, although the Obama administration reportedly wants Salazar to stay on board to work on important climate change and energy policies.
And the Pueblo Chieftan reported Salazar’s brother, U.S. Rep. John Salazar, was urging his brother to run for the governor’s office:
“I think my brother would be the best candidate,” John Salazar said during a tour of Xcel Energy’s Comanche Power Plant early today. “Ken knows the state, and he knows all the issues. Of course, he’s only been Interior secretary for a year and I don’t want to be putting words in his mouth.”
John Salazar, who represents Pueblo and the 3rd Congressional District, didn’t completely erase his own name from consideration, but said he was concentrating on his own re-election campaign.
“I love working for my district and there is still much work to do,” he said. John Salazar is running for a fourth term and moved up to the powerful House Appropriations Committee this year. The congressman said he was “stunned” by Ritter’s announcement, which he learned of late Tuesday in telephone calls from other Democrats.