Former U.S. attorney interested in Colorado Senate appointment |

Former U.S. attorney interested in Colorado Senate appointment

Lynn Bartels
Rocky Mountain News

DENVER, Colorado ” Henry Solano, former U.S. attorney for Colorado, has let Gov. Bill Ritter know he’s interested in being appointed to the U.S. Senate.

Solano is at least the third Hispanic the governor is considering to succeed U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Denver, who steps early next year when he becomes Interior secretary.

The other Hispanics are Salazar’s brother, U.S. Rep. John Salazar of the San Luis Valley, and former Denver Mayor Federico Pena.

Solano’s career includes stints at the U.S. Departments of Justice and Labor, and overseeing three state agencies.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find someone with a deeper resume,” said political consultant Steve Welchert.

Ritter has a number of top-shelf Democrats to choose from, and he said the lobbying effort on behalf of various candidates is “intense.”

Several Republican lawmakers and influential civic groups are urging Ritter to appoint House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, calling him a “statesman.”

House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, and Rep. Rob Witwer, R-Genesee, want Romanoff to be appointed. So does Reeves Brown, executive director of the influential Western Slope civic group Club 20.

“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.”

Witwer has long praised Romanoff’s effort to treat Republicans fairly.

“If it’s got to be a Democrat, Andrew’s the best of the lot,” Witwer said.

May joked that he was worried about “jinxing” it for Romanoff by publicly endorsing him.

“But I know Andrew. He and I have served together here for six years. I think Andrew Romanoff will do an outstanding job for two years and then one of our folks runs against him and beats him,” May said.

The person Ritter appoints to succeed U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Denver, must run in 2010.

Republican Attorney General John Suthers has already said he plans to run for the Senate in two years.

Other contenders include one of Romanoff’s strongest allies, state Treasurer Cary Kennedy; Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and U.S. Reps. Ed Perlmutter and Diana DeGette.


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