A dark horse choice to replace Ken Salazar in the U.S. Senate

Denver Public Schools Superintendent Michael Bennet gets the nod from Colorado Governor Ritter-

The good news is it looks like Bennet is of a greener disposition than Salazar.

From the blog Colorado pols . . . Michael Bennet, Everybody!





  1. todd Avatar

    Salazar was a senate lifer if he so desired — and, in all likelihood, would have been measurably better than the Republican that could beat Bennet in 2010.

    Hard to tell how this will work out. I think Ritter is swinging for a home run here after a poor showing in November.


  2. kt Avatar

    Todd –

    For we non-Coloradans: Do you mean Ritter made a poor showing In November?

    Any idea of any public lands perspective that Bennet may have?

    What was wrong with Diane Deguette (sp?)

  3. todd Avatar

    kt —

    Ritter expended some political capital by supporting amendments in November. He lost all of these. In particular, he lost on Amendment 58 that would have ended at $300M/yr subsidy to gas and oil companies.

    It takes a special Democrat to (consistently) win statewide election in CO. They have to be progressive enough to carry the heavily populated Front Range by 5 to 10 points and folksy enough to talk ranching/farming on the eastern plains and the western slope. Ken Salazar is probably the best example of this model — which is why I considered him a Senate lifer.

    Mark Udall (a liberal Boulder Dem) won statewide election in 2008 (filling US Senator Allard’s seat) — but his opponent ran what might be the worst Republican campaign in CO in the decade (and there have been some bad ones). No one should expect such poor opponents in 2010.

    I know nothing about Bennet (while I still follow CO politics closely, I am in NM now). I do know many thought he was on the short list for Secretary of Education. By all accounts he is an excellent politician — but that does not mean he can win in 2010.


  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Can we assume that Bennet will run; or will he be a loyal senator for 2 years and then get an position in the Obama Administration?

  5. JimT Avatar

    Local concerns here indicate that some of the Dems were caught by surprise by the appointment of such a neophyte, and are angry that more seasoned folks did not end up with the appointment. Bennett has never run for office, and doesn’t have the organization in place to start running, which he must do starting immediately. Republicans smell blood here, and are promising a “bruising campaign” in 2010, and probably are happy with this choice just for seat vulnerability reasons alone. IF the seat is lost in 2010, Ritter will face some hostility in own party over this choice. Hard to tell what kind of Senator he will make.

    I said in another thread that his wife is very green, on the correct side of environmental issue from my perspective, a well respected, skilled litigator for Earth Justice, and now a member of the Denver Water Board.

  6. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    As a northwestern Coloradoan, I have heard of Michael Bennett and his work at DPS. He has done an admirable job getting the school system turned around.

    The Rebublicans are going to be gunning for him in 2010. It should be an exciting campaign, as the West Slope idealogues are going to be out in force. But the West Slope is changing; the Dems are beginning to make inroads into the formerly Republican bastion of power.



Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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