Hickenlooper, John 2It’s been a whirlwind week in the Democratic Party since Governor Bill Ritter announced he won’t seek re-election this year. After a day or so of intense speculation in the press, Ken Salazar, citing his ongoing work as secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior, announced that he would not run for governor in a statement.

Instead, he endorsed Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (via 9News). In an interview with The Denver Post, Salazar says he spoke about his decision with Hickenlooper (right), who has yet to make up his mind. Salazar’s “sense,” however, is that Hickenlooper “will run.”

But another possible contender is gaining some traction: Congressman Ed Perlmutter of Golden, who also seems to be waiting to make an announcement. Hickenlooper’s decision “is a consideration” for Perlmutter (left), according to his office.

Perlmutter, EdThe Greeley Tribune writes, “With 10 short months in which to launch and run a challenging campaign, any Democratic candidate will surely be at a disadvantage.”

State Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, the Grand Junction Republican who launched a campaign for governor but then dropped out to support the candidacy of his old boss, former Congressman Scott McInnis, says Ritter should reach across the aisle of the state Legislature, where Democrats hold the majority.

“If they’re smart, they’ll make the right choices. If not, there will be consequences,” Penry tells The Pueblo Chieftain.