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Panorama: Casting Call

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Mile-High Headlines for Monday, December 8

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The Next Secretary

With Republican Mike Coffman on his way to Congress, the list of names to replace him as Colorado secretary of state is starting to take shape. The polling going on at ProgressNow shows runaway liberal support for term-limited state Senator Ken Gordon, who dwarfs the next closest competitor, fellow Denver Democrat and term-limited Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff.

Federal Election Assistance Commission chairwoman Rosemary Rodriguez, outgoing state Representative Bernie Buescher, a Grand Junction Dem, and Colorado Democratic Party executive director Sherry Jackson round out the top five. The votes don’t count for anything, but go ahead and cast yours here.

A search committee is expected to come up with the official short list for Governor Bill Ritter sometime this week, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The Rocky names all of ProgressNow’s top contenders except Jackson. Ritter is expected to make the appointment later this month.

Meanwhile, The Colorado Independent notes that Republican Scott Gessler is doing well in the poll–better than TV talk show host Aaron Harbor.

The Election Sweeps
The official numbers are in: U.S. Senator-elect Mark Udall trounced Bob Schaffer by more than 10 percentage points in the November election. That’s according to the Rocky Mountain News, which notes Udall has had the best showing by a Democrat since Gary Hart. Salon considers Udall’s election among the many local “progressive mandates” granted by voters.

Meanwhile, it seems, two of Colorado’s freshman U.S. representatives, Betsy Markey of the Fourth Congressional District and Jared Polis of the Second, both Democrats, are employing different styles, according to The Washington Independent: Polis, who won in a Democratic-leaning district, is “free to play more of an insider’s game in Washington. By contrast, Markey’s listening tour marked the beginning of her reelection campaign.”

As for the power of the religious right, the Colorado Springs Gazette takes a look at Focus on the Family, which recently announced major job cuts. The paper wonders: “Has its high-profile political stances hurt its public relations? Is its audience aging or shrinking? Did it reach a peak that, for some reason, has passed?”

More Bad News for the News
Scratch the Tribune Co. off the list of potential buyers of the Rocky Mountain News, which was put on the block last week by the E.W. Scripps Company. As The New York Times reports, Tribune is trying to negotiate with creditors and has hired advisers for a “possible” bankruptcy filing. The company declined to comment on Sunday. Already, Tribune has made “deep cuts” at its newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and the Baltimore Sun. Tribune also recently sold Newsday to raise money.

If no buyer is found for the Rocky (an unlikely scenario), Scripps will shut the paper down next month. The Rocky’s initial story about the closure is still incredibly active online, with nearly 300 reader comments.

Under Pressure
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has told his staff to work with the Army in order to take another look at the deaths of two Fort Carson soldiers: Pfc. Roger Suarez-Gonzalez and Pfc. Albert Nelson, according to The Associated Press (via 9News). The Army concluded the two died at enemy hands in 2006, while fighting in Ramadi, Iraq.

However, an investigation last month by Salon indicated that the two were killed by U.S. tank fire–so-called “friendly fire.” Salon backed up its story with video and eyewitness testimony. “I have the opinion of the Army, but I’d like someone to give me another opinion,” Suarez’ father tells the AP.

Cooling Trends
The cold weather 9News predicts for today and tomorrow–including some snow in the Denver area–might have you waxing nostalgic for the good old days of global warming–not the real thing, of course.

As for greenhouse gases, Colorado farmers are getting paid to decrease their output through a program backed by the Carbon Credit Exchange of Chicago, according to CBS4. Instead of plowing after harvest, farmers should leave the ground undisturbed, thereby keeping the gases in the soil.

Playoff Material
It’s not a lock yet, but the Denver Broncos appear destined to reach the playoffs for the first time in three years. Yesterday’s 24-17 win against the Kansas City Chiefs broke the Broncos’ losing streak at Invesco Field, according to the Rocky Mountain News.

The 8-5 Broncos are up three games over second-place San Diego in the unimpressive American Football Conference West. The only bad news from the game is the loss of rookie running back Peyton Hillis, who strained a hamstring. He is the sixth Broncos tailback injured this season.

Cup-less in the U.S.
The “sluggish” American ski team failed to make the most of home-slope advantage in World Cup ski racing at Beaver Creek this weekend. That’s according to USA Today, which notes that Europeans dominated the Super G and that Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal and Austrian legend Hermann Maier were impressive.

Bowl Bound
The University of Colorado might have been a disappointment this year, but Colorado State University and the Air Force Academy are bound for bowl games. Air Force will get a chance at vindication against the University of Houston in a rematch of the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, on December 31, according to the Rocky Mountain News. And CSU will take on Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl on December 20.

Pollster: The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD, commissioned a poll exploring how Coloradans view gay and lesbian relationships. Among the myriad findings, 83 percent of Colorado adults say gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry, have the same rights as married couples, or should be allowed to form a domestic partnership. If asked only about marriage, just 51 support that idea. However, a mere 15 percent say gay and lesbian couples should have no legal recognition.

Videodose: Check out “Pictures of You: Images from Iran,” works by Colorado artist Tom Loughlin, in this video at Pars Arts.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $1.40, Western Convenience, 10515 S. Parker Road (via www.gasbuddy.com).

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