Report: Gov Ritter To Name Denver Schools Chief To Replace Salazar

Rocky Mountain News:

Denver Public Schools superintendent Michael Bennet is expected to be named Saturday as the future U.S. Senate replacement for Interior Secretary nominee Ken Salazar, according to two Democratic sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

I leave it to folks who know Colorado and the Denver school system to opine on this choice. In other words, I hope the rest of this post is written by Jeralyn.

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    Much like the firing of Shannahan... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 12:32:25 PM EST
    ...this leaves us locals scratching our heads and looking for answers.  

    Reaction ranges from it being a "placeholder appointment" to "a trail-ballon rumor" to "WFT is Bill thinking" to "great outside-the-box appointment".  

    Most here agree that Mike is a seemingly very compentent, easily liked guy with a good real world resume and the potential to grow into the job.  However, his name ID, ability to raise funds and lack of experience in running (much less winning) a state-wide election are all big question marks.  

    Somehow, I don't think the DSCC is all that thrilled with the pick.

    Is Ritter term limited? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 12:33:29 PM EST
    Is this placeholding for himself?

    No (none / 0) (#8)
    by sj on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 12:45:42 PM EST
    He's only two years into his first term.

    And we have a long, long history... (none / 0) (#9)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 12:54:54 PM EST
    ...of letting our Govs serve two terms, deserved or not (see Owens, Bill).  

    If one adjusts their foil hat just right, you might see where Bill was letting Andrew Romanoff get his law degree and some real world experience before running for this seat when it comes up for election.  

    Or finding a suitable heir to Perlmutter so he can run for the Senate while keeping his House seat in Democratic hands.  

    Only time will tell.


    May I say "Huh?". (none / 0) (#1)
    by Fabian on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 11:57:21 AM EST
    I look forward to the rest of the story because school superintendent => U.S. Senator is certainly unique in my experience.

    Heh (none / 0) (#3)
    by Steve M on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 12:02:17 PM EST
    True enough.  I suppose a school superintendent is kinda like a U.S. Senator, except you have actual responsibilities.

    Depends on the superintendent... (none / 0) (#7)
    by sj on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 12:42:27 PM EST
    ... I guess :)

    Here's what Alter had to say about him in Newsweek (none / 0) (#2)
    by pmj6 on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 12:01:14 PM EST
    But Obama also knows that if he chooses a union-backed candidate such as Linda Darling-Hammond, a Stanford professor active in the transition, he'll have a revolt on his hands from the swelling ranks of reformers. That's why it's more likely he'll settle on a superintendent like Arne Duncan of Chicago, Michael Bennet of Denver or Paul Vallas of New Orleans, any of whom would suit Gates and other reform-minded philanthropists just fine. (I have my money on Bennet, whose new compensation system is popular with Denver teachers, if not the union.)


    Well, if he's anything like Arne Duncan, he's bad news.

    If he was going for a school superintendent... (none / 0) (#6)
    by sj on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 12:41:07 PM EST
    ... I wish he would have gone for Mike Miles, Salazar's primary opponent (and the more worthy candidate, in my mind).  

    But then Ritter isn't going to buck the Dem party machinery.  I fully believe that Udall's early announcement of his intention to run for Senator was a pre-emptive move to keep Miles out of the running.  I knew Udall would declare when I saw him and both Salazars hand-wringing with Chris Gates after Pat Waak defeated Chris for State Party Chair.  (Pat was seen to be Miles' candidate.  Which she may have been, frankly speaking.)

    I'm not unhappy with Udall, don't get me wrong, but a real true-blue liberal with enough Army Ranger/tough guy creds to get respect from R's (which he did) made me starry-eyed.  

    What has this man done for the party? (none / 0) (#10)
    by BrassTacks on Sat Jan 03, 2009 at 12:17:09 AM EST
    Aren't there other democrats in CO who have paid their dues, know something about politics, etc?  Why this guy, who no one has ever heard of?  

    For the party? (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sat Jan 03, 2009 at 01:02:30 AM EST
    Well, he did a stint in the DOJ under Clinton and was a finalist to head the Education Department under Obama.  That's about the extent of it.  As far as I'm aware, he has never ran for elected office--and certainly not state-wide.

    There were plenty of others who have paid their dues on the list of people that Ritter had to pick from.  All of them would have been great choices for the people of Colorado and the party.  

    The latest speculation (including from the GOP) is that Ritter is going to pick Bennet because his political "star" doesn't outshine the Gov's.  In fact, the GOP likes this choice because it makes 2010 easier for them--no name ID, no political experience, no fundraising network...

    I don't think we know the real reason for this pick as yet.