Mile-High Headlines for Thursday, November 6

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Negative on Affirmative?
There’s one big loose end left from Tuesday’s election: Will California businessman Ward Connerly’s Amendment 46, which would end race and gender preferences in state hiring, contracting, and education, pass? As of this morning, the ballot count was still too close to tell, according to myriad news sources. Boulder’s Daily Camera provides an example of what would happen if the amendment goes through: About 100 University of Colorado scholarships that have race or gender requirements would be in jeopardy. Just 37 percent of Boulder County voters were in support of the measure, although statewide the the split is almost dead even. The most recent count shows the measure failing 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent, but Boulder and Adams counties still have 100,000 or so ballots to count, according to The Denver Post.

Bye Bye, Buescher
Democrats didn’t fare so well during Tuesday’s elections on Colorado’s Western Slope. It’s there that evangelical Christians perhaps still hold some sway. House District 55 fell into the hands of Republican Laura Bradford, as the final election tally became clear yesterday. Or maybe it was John McCain’s last-minute visit to the region that gave Bradford the edge over incumbent Bernie Buescher, a Democrat who was expected to become the state’s speaker of the House (via the Grand Junction Free Press). The political arm of Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family Action had attacked Buescher in an eleventh-hour letter campaign, casting him as a “pawn” in a liberal-homosexual conspiracy to take control of Colorado, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Buescher’s departure leaves a “power vacuum” for the speaker job, according to PolitickerCO, which names Assistant Majority Leader Terrance Carroll, Representative Anne McGihon, both of Denver, and Kathleen Curry of Gunnison as possibilities.

Ritter Tapped by Obama?

Is Governor Bill Ritter really being “coy” when asked whether he might be offered a role in President-elect Barack Obama’s administration? The Denver Post thinks so, quoting Ritter from a news conference, saying what he always says when these kinds of questions come up: “I have a great job, and I love my job.” Not only that, Ritter swears he hasn’t talked to anybody, and nobody’s talked to him. As that’s being sorted out, Obama has wasted no time in putting together the pillars of a staff. He wants Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel, a former political and policy adviser to President Clinton, to be his chief of staff, and John Podesta, Clinton’s chief of staff, to help lead a transition team, according to The Associated Press. Obama’s hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune, reports that Senator John Kerry, Senator Richard Lugar, a Republican, and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson are among those under possible consideration for the role of secretary of state. As for Senator John McCain, Dems hope he might play the role of mediator between the GOP and Dems, who built upon their majorities in the Senate and House this election (AP story via Rocky Mountain News).

CSU’s Prez Penley Leaves Amid Speculation
Though there are letters explaining what happened, it remains unclear why, exactly, Colorado State University President Larry Penley resigned unexpectedly this week. The Denver Post notes that on Monday, the university’s Board of Governors went into a closed-door session and evaluated Penley’s performance. Penley’s “resignation apparently is a result of that meeting,” according to the Post, although chairman Douglas L. Jones declined to discuss the matter. Questions about Penley’s leadership during his five-year tenure were raised in September by The Colorado Independent in a series of stories that highlighted how Penley shifted the public university’s funds from academics to athletics and his own office. In a statement, Penley says he wants to “be free to pursue other leadership positions in higher education,” a remark that upset student government president Taylor Smoot, who tells the Rocky Mountain Collegian he is “angry” that Penley apparently used CSU as a career “stepping stone.” In another letter, Jones says Tony Frank, the school’s provost, will take charge during the search for a new president.

Molson Coors Retooling, Laying Off Workers
Although Molson Coors’ profits rose 28 percent, seeming to spite the bad economy, Coors chief executive Leo Kiely says job cuts are coming in the weeks ahead. Actually, to use his executive-ese, the company will “be exiting a lot of people,” according to the Rocky Mountain News, which notes more than 1,000 jobs could be shaved from sales, marketing, transportation, and other areas. The cuts are the result of a joint venture between Molson Coors and SABMiller this summer, a deal that combines eight breweries and 10,000 workers. So far, 269 jobs are already gone, according to CNN, as the company looks to save $500 million in spending in the coming three years. About 100 employees were previously eliminated at the Molson Coors offices in Milwaukee, according to the Denver Business Journal.

Nuggets Lose, Billups Hangs Out
Chauncey Billups was in Denver last night, as the Nuggets were on the road, dropping an early 35-17 lead to lose 111-101, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Billups, who was acquired in a big trade that saw star Allen Iverson go to Detroit, is expected to practice with the Nuggets today and to debut against Dallas at the Pepsi Center on Friday. Carmelo Anthony put 28 points on the board against the Warriors.

Broncos to Face Quinn
The Cleveland Browns take on the Denver Broncos tonight with Brady Quinn starting as their quarterback. The removal of Derek Anderson is “a gamble,” according to this ESPN blog, which notes the shortened preparation week gives Quinn little time to learn all he has to know. Advantage Broncos. Yet Denver is languishing at 4-4, although the Browns are even worse. As for Quinn, the first-round draft pick from Notre Dame might be starting because it makes financial sense rather than game sense, according to The Kansas City Star. Advantage Broncos.

Videodose: Fox News’ chief political correspondent, Carl Cameron, tells Bill O’Reilly that Republican vice-presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was a diva of sorts, who threw tantrums behind the scenes when things didn’t go her way. It seems she didn’t understand that Africa was a continent (no kidding). O’Reilly even complains that Palin wasn’t allowed by her minders to sit down for a one-on-one interview in this video (via The Huffington Post). My only question: Why did Fox News wait until after the election to tell viewers about this?

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $1.90, Phillips 66, 2000 Youngfield St. (via