A strong message has been sent by Colorado junior U.S. Senator Ken Salazar’s rapid-response endorsement of Democrat gubernatorial primary frontrunner Bill Ritter in the wake of Mayor John Hickenlooper’s 11th-hour declaration that he wouldn’t run. The former Denver District Attorney is his party’s best hope to capture the statehouse, now that Hick has bowed out. Salazar’s clout and status brought to bear so quickly seems to say that he thinks no other Democrat should enter the primary – and he doesn’t even need to mention the low-profile candidacy of Rep. Gary Lindstrom. Meanwhile, every hour of indecision for Boulder liberal Rep. Alice Madden is an hour closer to turning a longshot campaign into a wasted effort.
And so many questions remain: Will the Democratic Party split over the rush to coronate Ritter? Are his views on abortion too far to the right for Colorado’s Democrat activists? What viable alternative do they have? Will the party’s base find a boost to restore its energy? Does a divisive primary wait? …Where’s Mike Miles when you need him?
Message to Republicans: keep your eyes on the prize.