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It looks like Colorado's Ken Salazar might not be the highest-ranking Hispanic member of the Obama Cabinet after all. The secretary of the interior nominee, who plans to step down from the Senate if confirmed later this month, was one of three Hispanics tapped for a Cabinet post -- along with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson at Commerce and Rep. Hilda Solis of California at Labor -- until Richardson withdrew his name from consideration on Sunday because of an ongoing federal "pay-for-play" probe involving a state contractor. A veteran California congressman, Xavier Becerra, tops the list of potential replacements for Richardson, the San Antonio Express-News reports Wednesday.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew his name as the nominee for commerce secretary because of a federal grand jury investigation into allegations a company tied political donations to state contracts, NBC's Andrew Mitchell reported Sunday afternoon. "Let me say unequivocally that I and my Administration have acted properly in all matters and that this investigation will bear out that fact," Richardson said in a statement first reported by Mitchell. "But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process."