Salazar deflects questions about possible run to replace Ritter

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar Wednesday morning declined to say whether he would run for the governor’s office in the wake of Bill Ritter stunning announcement that he won’t seek a second term.

ken salazar

On a conference call with reporters to discuss reforms to the oil and gas leasing process on public lands controlled by the Department of the Interior, Salazar, a former Colorado senator and attorney general, deflected repeated questions about his intentions or his preference for a Democratic replacement for Ritter.

“I’m not going to comment on that,” Salazar said. “The governor has not made his formal announcement. I think that’s coming up here in a few minutes, and there are other conversations that are going on in Colorado.”

Speculation has focused on Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, Salazar and former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, whom Ritter passed over when selecting U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet to replace Salazar after the Obama administration tabbed him to head Interior.

“Bill Ritter has been a devoted servant of the public at great sacrifice to self and family,” Salazar said. “I have enjoyed our work together in Colorado during my time at attorney general, as United States senator and as Secretary of the Interior. I wish him and his family all the best and thank him for his service.”

However, Adam Schrager, political reporter for 9News, reported on the noon broadcast that U.S. Rep. John Salazar — Ken’s brother and a Democrat representing Colorado’s Third Congressional District on the Western Slope — is telling friends Ken Salazar will give up his cabinet post and run for governor in November.

And the Atlantic posted this today:

“In Colorado, the White House was prepared for the retirement of governor Bill Ritter, even though Ritter had managed to keep his intentions a secret from almost everyone. And the White House even has a candidate in mind: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the former Colorado Senator, and a man who has long aspired to be Colorado’s governor.”

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