Andrew Romanoff, the young Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, has endorsed former Denver D.A. Bill Ritter in his campaign for Governor. It has been known for a week that Romanoff wouldn't run himself. But, the real issue is whether this endorsement will discourage popular Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper from throwing his hat into the ring.
Hickenlooper has initially denied interest in running for Governor, then demeurred and suggested that he would announce a decision in the next few days. Any viable gubinatorial candidate must announce in time to have an organization in place for the March party caucuses, where the nomination process begins, so the clock is ticking for potential new entrants. Hickenlooper is probably the only dog in Colorado big enough to displace Ritter as the front runner on the Democratic side of the race, so if he joins Romanoff in reaffirming his decision not to run for Governor, Ritter will probably face only token opposition en route to obtaining the Democratic party nomination. (Suffice it to say that Ritter's opposition is so serious that I can't even recall his name without looking it up.)
Bill Ritter was soft on cops accused of brutality as D.A., is pro-life, tends towards a tough on crime position, and is otherwise a moderately liberal Democrat. Polls have shown him doing well in a statewide race against either of his likely competitors. This does not make members of the socially liberal part of the Democrat base like myself terribly happy, but it does probably does enhance his ability to get elected in the purple state that is Colorado. Also, the absence of a bruising primary fight on the Democratic side might help Ritter as the Republicans eat their own in a no holds barred fight between Holtzman and Beauprez for their gubinatorial nomination. Both Holtzman and Beauprez are far more conservative than their public demeanors would suggest.
By the way, Monday, January 23, 2006, is the last day to register as a Democrat in time to participate in the 2006 caucus process with precinct caucuses which are, at least for Democrats, on March 21, 2006. If you are unaffiliated or part of a party other than the one you want to caucus with, or are registered elsewhere and want to get your registration straight at your current residence, act now.