Salazar won't run, backs Hickenlooper

John Hickenlooper for governor?

It looks like things are heading in that direction now that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a former senator, has made it known that he will not run for Colorado governor and will back Hickenlooper, the mayor of Denver.

"Colorado needs a strong, experienced leader with optimism and new ideas for carrying our state forward. That is why I am endorsing John Hickenlooper for governor of Colorado," Salazar said in a statement. "John Hickenlooper is a uniter. He transcends political and geographic divides to bring people together to develop solutions. If he decides to run, he will make an excellent governor for the state of Colorado."

Gov. Bill Ritter (D) bowed out of the race late Tuesday, and Salazar emerged initially as a top potential replacement. Hickenlooper was even quoted saying he would defer to Salazar.

But now Salazar is endorsing the as-yet-undeclared candidate, and it looks like Democrats might have their frontrunner.

Former Rep. Scott McInnis (Colo.) awaits on the GOP side.

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