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Gov. Ritter Press Conference: Leaving for Family Reasons

Update: The press conference. Loud cheers for him. His wife is with him and smiling. Sen. Mark Udall is behind him. He talks about his vision and that it is becoming a reality. Colorado is on the road to recovery. It is a privilege for him to serve as Governor. He praises Lt. Governor, Barbara O'Brien.

Over the last year, he's tried to balance many roles in his life. His family has sacrificed the most. He hasn't made them the priority they should be. So he is going to do that now.

He's 53 years old and been in public service for more than 30 years. He has two children that still live at home, one in college, and they need him and his wife needs him.

This decision allows him to focus on the budget and Colorado's economy. By not running for re-election he can make the tough budget cuts that need to be made, free of political bickering. He looks forward to spending the next year keeping the budget balanced and economy growing. He thanks everyone. Time for questions: [More...]

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Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter Won't Seek Re-Election

Update: My speculation as to reason: He liked being DA better than being Governor. Maybe Obama will announce he's going to be Colorado's U.S. Attorney. Until we hear tomorrow, I think it's as possible as any other reason being floated.

This is a shocker. Flashing across my tv screen, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter won't seek re-election. He hasn't given a reason. He will make the announcement in the morning at an 11 a.m. press conference. From Political Wire:

A fundraiser scheduled for tonight was canceled and all campaign staff was sent home in the middle of the day. The decision does not appear to be fundraising related which has reportedly gone better than expected.

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Sen. Ken Salazar Not Ready to Disengage

Colorado senator Ken Salazar's replacement, Denver schools superintendant Michael Bennet, has been named by Gov. Ritter. But it sounds like Salazar, soon to be Interior Secretary, is having trouble handing over the reins to his successor:

Salazar said Sunday he would like to provide recommendations on filling two vacancies in U.S. District court in Denver as well as picking a new U.S. attorney and marshal before stepping down later this month.

Shouldn't those be Michael Bennet's choices? It's highly unlikely any of those appointments will be made before Salazar's confirmation hearings. Not only that:

Before leaving, Salazar said he'd also like to pass eight bills dealing mainly with wilderness and conservation issues. One would define bans on mining, timber harvesting and new roads and constructions in Rocky Mountain National Park. Another would establish the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area.

Someone needs to tell Sen. Salazar it's time to move on.

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Speculating on Salazar's Senate Replacement

President-elect Barack Obama will hold a news conference today and name Colorado Senator Ken Salazar as Secretary of Interior and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as Agriculture Secretary.

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter will name Salazar's Senate replacement. Tonight the local news is reporting the top names are Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and Reps. Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter and John Salazar. One clue may be Ritter's statement today:

Wwe are mindful that there is a great deal of work to be done at the very beginning of Congress, the very early parts of January, so we'll take all that into consideration.

That signals to me he will pick someone already in Congress. Also important: Who is a proven fund-raiser. The 2010 election isn't far away and Republicans will make a strong attempt to get the Senate seat back. [More...]

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