Politics Digest

Colorado's Ritter won't seek second term as governor

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010 ELECTIONS

Colorado Gov. Ritter won't run this fall

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) will not seek a second term this fall, Democratic sources briefed on his decision said Tuesday night.

Ritter was elected in a landslide in 2006, and his state's capital, Denver, hosted the Democratic National Convention and the presidential nomination of Sen. Barack Obama in 2008.

But Ritter's political fate has dipped considerably in the intervening years, and he faced a difficult reelection bid in November against former congressman Scott McInnis (R). The governor's campaign manager did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

"Bill Ritter was literally the weakest incumbent in nearly 50 years, and his own party was unenthusiastic at best for his reelection," said Dick Wadhams, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party. "Colorado has certainly changed from that heady day at Invesco Field."

Democrats are likely to turn to either former state House speaker Andrew Romanoff or Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to replace Ritter. Romanoff is currently challenging appointed Sen. Michael Bennet in a Democratic primary; persuading him to switch races would solve two problems for the party.

-- Chris Cillizza

In switch, Steele says GOP can win House

GOP Chairman Michael S. Steele backpedaled Tuesday from his statement a day earlier that his party is unlikely to retake the House in 2010.

"I agree with [those] in the party who believe that we have real shots this November, and I'm playing to win as well," Steele said on MSNBC's "Hardball." Asked by host Chris Matthews whether the Republicans could win the House this year, Steele said, "Yes, we can."

That was a different answer than the one he gave Monday night on the syndicated radio program "The Sean Hannity Show," telling host Hannity, "Not this year."


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