Denver mayor confirms interest in Senate seat
DENVER, Colorado ” Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper says he’s interested in Colorado’s pending U.S. Senate vacancy.
Hickenlooper has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar, who has been nominated by President-elect Barack Obama as Interior secretary.
The mayor said Monday that he has had one formal discussion with Gov. Bill Ritter about the Senate appointment. Ritter will name a replacement for Salazar, whose nomination will be considered by the Senate.
“I love my job,” Hickenlooper, in his second term as mayor, told The Denver Post. “I’m in that unique position in that I’ve got one of the best jobs that a person like me can have.”
Hickenlooper built a successful business career in Denver, starting with a brew pub and investments in restaurants and other ventures. He said he thinks he would bring a different perspective to the Senate, but isn’t actively seeking the position.
Swanee Hunt, the daughter of the late Texas oil magnate H.L. Hunt, has sent a three-page letter listing her credentials, the Rocky Mountain News reported Tuesday. Hunt was an ambassador to Austria in the Clinton administration.
Other Democrats interested in the job are Reps. Diana DeGette and Ed Perlmutter.
Others mentioned for the position are term-limited State House Speaker Andrew Romanoff of Denver, Rep. John Salazar of western Colorado, Ken Salazar’s brother, and Henry Solano, former U.S. attorney in Colorado.
Romanoff’s promoters include the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and some Republican lawmakers. State Sen. Steve Johnson, R-Fort Collins, said Romanoff “consistently worked across the aisle and put the interests of the state above his own and his party.”
Democratic political consultant Steve Welchert said Ritter needs to look long-term at the Senate seat.
“This is not some caretaker appointment,” Welchert said.
Ritter needs to consider whether the people promoting certain candidates will be supportive two years from now when the appointee faces a Republican in what’s expected to be a hard-fought race, Welchert said.
Former Denver Mayor Federico Pena, a cabinet member in the Clinton administration, and state Treasurer Cary Kennedy have said they’re not interested in the job.