January 11 2010, 9:37 AM
On Friday, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper received a two-minute phone call from President Barack Obama, the purpose of which was to pledge support should Hickenlooper decide to seek the Democratic Party's nomination for governor in the wake of Governor Bill Ritter's decision last week not to pursue a second term (via The Denver Post). Hick is "grateful" for the president's call, according to a spokesman, but isn't jumping at the opportunity, which fell into his lap after U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar decided against a gubernatorial run. Instead, Hickenlooper is doing his homework, talking to in-the-know people to get a feel for what's required, writes the Post. Former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, currently running against a fellow Dem, U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, is talking to people about seeking the governor's job should Hickenlooper decide not to. Many political watchers, including 5280 Associate Editor Patrick Doyle, have wondered why Romanoff didn't opt for a gubernatorial run in the first place. Meanwhile, the shakeup is getting attention in publications as far off as the The National, based in the United Arab Emirates, which notes that the Dems have an uphill battle ahead. "Over the last decade, Colorado has been like the canary in the mine shaft," says Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli. "And now, public opinion here has turned very sharply against the Obama administration." A Republican seeking the governor's job, former Congressman Scott McInnis, is unfazed. "The Democrats can say all they want. They can increase the taxes and all that, but they better start focusing on jobs," he tells KJCT8 News.