Salazar emerges as leading candidate for U.S. Senate
Can it be? Has the Republican Party conceded the race for the now open U.S. Senate seat?
A month ago, the Republicans were locked in for another victory with two-term incumbent Ben Nighthorse Campbell.
Now the best candidate they can find is a former Front Range congressman, Bob Schaffer.
After GOP Gov. Bill Owens declined to run, Attorney General Ken Salazar convinced his top Democratic adversaries, Congressman Mark Udall and millionaire Rutt Bridges, to step aside in his favor.
The sincere and diligent Mike Miles, a Democrat who has been running against Campbell since last year, barely got a nod in all the hoopla.
With Salazar carrying the Democrats’ banner, the state’s other Republican heavyweights backed off from the race.
Congressman Scott McInnis is going to be a lawyer-lobbyist, and Congressmen Tom Tancredo and Bob Beauprez say they’ll run again for their House seats. Lt. Gov. Jane Norton said she’ll stick with her present job, thank you.
Salazar will be a formidable opponent, apparently more imposing than McInnis, Tancredo, Beauprez or Norton care to take on ” or they have other fish to fry.
One person we haven’t heard from is the state’s former Attorney General Gale Norton, now serving as U.S. Secretary of Interior. Norton is a staunch and respected Republican and defender of the industries that profit from natural resources on the nation’s public lands.
But for many in the Bush administration, she’s still seen as too green. Running for Senate could be just the opportunity for Norton to move her sphere of influence. But could she beat her successor in the Colorado Attorney General’s office?
A couple of weeks ago, we were looking forward to a Scott McInnis vs. Mark Udall dust-up.
Now, Ken Salazar is the man to beat. With the Republicans’ narrow majority in the U.S. Senate, it’s hard to believe that Schaffer is the best they can offer.
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