December 16 2008, 10:03 AM
Ken Salazar will be named as President-elect Barack Obama's Interior Secretary sometime this week, several sources are telling the Rocky Mountain News, spawning speculation as to who would replace him in the U.S. Senate. Michael Bennet, the Denver Public Schools superintendent who was told yesterday he would not get the job of U.S. Education Secretary, is among the names cited by The Denver Post. Also on the list are Congresswoman Diana DeGette, a Denver Democrat; Mayor John Hickenlooper; Congressman Ed Perlmutter, a Golden Democrat; outgoing Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff; Congressman John Salazar, a Democrat and older brother of Senator Salazar; and Tom Strickland, the former U.S. attorney for Colorado and executive vice president for UnitedHealthGroup Inc. who failed to beat Republican Senator Wayne Allard in twice. The Washington Post adds Governor Bill Ritter, who otherwise is charged with making the appointment of the next senator, to the mix of names, and notes that with the seat up for reelection in 2010, the Republican Party might now have a shot at regaining a Senate post. Meanwhile, John Marshall at Talking Points Memo "continues to be surprised how many relatively young senators--Salazar is 53 and he was elected in 2004--are willing to give up their seats to serve in Obama's cabinet." Reflecting on Ken, 5280 and The Denver Post provide ample background. Meanwhile, Roberto Lovato's Of America blog notes that the Salazar appointment "will likely stir continued discussion ... about the 'Clintonization' of the Obama cabinet."