The White House has apparently picked its horse in the Colorado governor's race and Democrats are beginning to make way.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) was considered a likely candidate to replace retiring Gov. Bill Ritter (D) until he announced this morning that he wouldn't run. "It was flattering that a lot of folks thought of me to run for governor," Perlmutter told the Denver Post. "The bottom line is I love what I'm doing now."

Perlmutter's announcement came after word leaked out that President Obama called Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper on Friday to "encourage" the Democrat to get into the race. Hickenlooper is still mulling a run but his entry into the race seems even more likely after recent developments.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced last week he was backing the popular two-term mayor.

This isn't the first time the White House has gotten involved in state-level politics. Administration officials this fall met with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) shortly before the former congressman announced he would run for governor.

Gov. Jim Doyle (D), like Ritter, was facing a tough reelection campaign when he revealed in August that he wouldn't seek a third term.