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December 20, 2008 09:35 PM UTC

PeГ±a tells Ritter: "Not interested"

  • by: twas brillig

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Fort Collins Coloradoan writes:

Former Denver Mayor Federico Pena said today he’s not interested in being appointed to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Ken Salazar, D-Colo.

“Many names, including mine, have been mentioned as possible candidates to fill the United States Senate seat being vacated by my friend Ken Salazar. I am enormously proud that Ken has been appointed to serve as our nation’s next Interior secretary, a position I am certain he will carry out with distinction,” Pena said. “I have, however, advised Governor Ritter that I do not wish to be considered as a candidate for the critical Colorado United States Senate position.”


35 thoughts on “PeГ±a tells Ritter: “Not interested”

  1. This is a tough choice. There are a lot of people who would represent Colorado well. I’d like to see someone not from the Metro Area who is a true Colorado moderate. Should make 2010 very interesting.

  2. Is PeГ±a helping the guv’nor cover? There’s a lot of pressure for another Hispanic to fill the seat, but Ritter may have settled — or is settling — on another option. PeГ±a publicly taking himself out of the lineup may relieve some pressure on Ritter.  

      1. One thing that I haven’t seen mentioned yet is speculation on the level of influence Salazar has in picking his replacement.

        If you look at the people with whom Ritter might want to gain favor, the Sec. of the Interior has to be pretty high on the list. Picking who Ken wants gains Bill a friend in the White House as well as a new friend in the Senate.

        It is something of an assumption, but I would guess that K. Salazar would be pushing for J. Salazar. If that was the case, and if there is indeed pressure on Ritter to appoint another Hispanic, anything Ken could do to help PeГ±a step aside would certainly boost John’s chances.

        1. were initially pushing John Salazar, the day Ken Salazar’s imminent nomination leaked, but we haven’t heard anything about the sitting senator’s preference since then.

        2. My sense is that John/Ken knew that a Cabinet nod was in the works, and they knew that John would be an easy sell to move into the seat. House leadership and the DCCC (not to mention Ritter), however, would be deeply worried about losing CO-03 in a 2009 special — and rightly. That gave John leverage to get the Appropriations seat. Therefore, John is not seeking nor will get the Senate bump, so continuing to speculate about his chances is pointless. That domino is not going to fall.  

  3. Do the Dems really want to go through another fundraising phase and election over a Congressional seat? Pockets are pretty empty right now and volunteers worn out.

    As far as the leading Senate appointees and the Western Slope are concerned, haven’t seen Perlmutter and Hickenlooper in forever. If they had a US Senate seat in mind, you’d think they would have at least poked their nose over the Divide to acknowledge an issue or two of ours or accepted guest speaking engagements to local Democratic Party events.

    If Rep. John Salazar were chosen to replace his brother, too much oil-and-gas money would be thrown at probable Republican candidate Josh Penry’s campaign. The Dems would certainly lose the seat.

    Andrew Romanoff, however, has been a different story. Every year since entering the legislature, Romanoff has crisscrossed the Western Slope each year, many times for many reasons. Hence, there would be few complaints from Dems over here if Gov. Ritter were to select Romanoff and no doubt, he would be a strong pull for the Democratic ticket on the Western Slope in 2010 because he already knows we exist.

    1. I would be surprised to see Romanoff passed over. Aside from J. Salazar, the only other candidate who has sniffed around the western slope is Mike Miles, but I don’t see Miles with viable support outside of Denver, Boulder, and Pitkin.  

    2. As Speaker, he made sure to visit every corner of the state. He knows the territory.

      His leadership has been recognized up and down the Front Range. West Slopers like and trust him. He’s obviously knock ’em dead in Denver. He’s a known quantity on the other side of the aisle, where’s he’s acquired a lot of respect. He knows policy — he’s a strong progressive who doesn’t shove ideology down people’s throats.

      In fact, I give Andrew Romanoff a lot of credit for setting the tone and steering the Democratic Party to its current dominance. He figured out early on that focusing on good governance and letting the Republicans implode with “Guns, Gays, and God” would be rewarded by the voters.  

      1. You can talk, you can talk, you can bicker, you can talk, you can bicker bicker bicker, you can talk all you want, but it’s different than it was.

        No it ain’t, no it ain’t, but ya gotta know the territory!

    3. I agree Romanoff would be a good Senator, but I believe Perlmutter would be just as good and actually has a higher electability potential come 2010. He already has an election war chest that can be used for a Senate election, and could probably raise more money than Romanoff.(I lament the fact that has to be said, but it’s a political reality until we get meaningful campaign financing reform).  

      I do feel the comment about Perlmutter and Hickenlooper never being around the West Slope a little uncharitable, since their constituents obviously are in the Front Range. Romanoff, who was term limited, and was pushing his statewide financing reform issue, naturally got around the state more. And of course no one had a US Senate seat in mind until just a few days ago when that seat suddenly opened up.

      No doubt Romanoff would make a fine US Senator, but logistically I feel Perlmutter is a better fit for the seat.  

      1. Andrew is a much better pick.  While Perlmutter has done a great job for his constituents in CD-7, but nobody knows him outside of Denver.  Everybody on this side of the divide at least knows Andrew’s name, and the majority of people out here like him.  Romanoff is a much better statewide candidate.

        1. …that’s ridiculous, there’s only 7 of ’em!  I refuse to believe that western slopers are as dumb as you claim.  My experience suggests otherwise.

          1. but the point remains the same.  Outside of Denver, and particularly on the western slope, Romanoff is well-liked, well-known, and respected.  Perlmutter, is an unknown quantity.  

            1. but so is Romanoff and with Romanoff there is no possibility of losing a CD seat, no need for an expensive special election, no more competition between Dems to fill yet another open spot.  It all stops. Our congressional delegation remains ready to go on day one. Romanoff seems like the clear solution.  

              I believe Pena really doesn’t want it and it’s very helpful of him to make it clear that he, an Hispanic, is not being passed over but is opting out.  Between that and John Salazar getting Appropriations the way is clear for Andrew. I hope he gets it.  

          2. Hyperbole is a perfectly fine political and philosophical tactic.  J, you are perfectly correct to say that someone from the western slope can name all 7 congress people. In fact, I bet we could find someone on the west slope that could name every president to have served in the US Govt.  However, I am perfectly fine saying that nobody in the US knows every US president – whether I’m slinging drinks around a bar or standing in front of a crowd.

    4. From the Rocky, Reeves Brown wrote to Ritter in support of Romanoff:

      “In the world of politics, there are politicians and there are statesmen – Andrew Romanoff is a statesman,” Brown wrote the governor.

      “Andrew has established himself statewide as an articulate and fair-minded civic leader who transcends partisan politics to find consensus solutions that work for all the people.”

      1. I can give very good reasons to pick 4 or 5 different people. But I think Andrew Romanoff would easily be the most effective of all of the possible choices. And by most effective I mean would accomplish legislation that makes this country better.

        However, that is not the only criteria and on other measures there are other candidates who are his equal or surpass him.

          1. I just enjoyed the image of HD-6 Dems and Reeves Brown uniting forces in Andrew’s corner. Rather comical, but also a statement on his appeal. For the record, that story also noted that Mike May, Rob Witwer, and Progressive 15 are supporting Andrew.

            I’m definitely most impressed with the level of support I’ve heard from friends on the Western Slope.

  4. Not my choice, but I think that is who it will be.

    Who it should be is John Salazar.  I know all the arguments about his place on approp. and all that, but the reality is he is the strongest candidate to hold the senate seat in 2010.

    Moreover, there is an argument to be made that if Hispanic voters sit on their hands in 2010 because they feel they are not being treated with respect, it will hurt every state-wide Dem candidate, including Ritter.

    I have maintained that it is possible for someone other than Salazar to hold the 3rd.  But even if that were not the case, I would prefer to hold the senate seat, and give as much help to all other state-wide dems as possible.

    Other senate candidates may be able to do that, but I know for sure that John Salazar can.

    1. which isn’t the same as being Latino, but it certainly helps, especially with Hispanic media.  Perhaps he and Richardson could tour together…

      And I think someone else hit the nail on the head when they theorized that the possibility of losing CD-3 was the leverage that got Salazar on Approps in the first place.

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