Colorado Attorney General John Suthers (R), who was initially expected to challenge Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) this year, announced Tuesday that he will back former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton in the Republican primary.

Suthers surprised everyone by saying no to a Senate run in early 2009. Since then, Norton has emerged as the establishment favorite, but she faces a contested primary.

"Jane Norton is a person of principle and integrity, and I am certain she will be an exceptional representative for the citizens of this state in the U.S. Senate," Suthers said in a statement. "She has a proven track record of experience in tackling and solving big issues, and I believe she is the right person to stand up for Colorado’s law enforcement community in our nation’s capitol."