Wake-Up Call: Mr. Salazar goes to Washington?

Suddenly, all the political pundits are talking about a Salazar going to Washington. Not Ken Salazar, who'd apparently rather stay in his Senate seat than move to the Cabinet (but might be up for a future opening on the Supreme Court, where he'd be the first Latino justice), but his brother, John.

And the talk isn't just of John Salazar possibly becoming Secretary of Agriculture, of course, but what would happen to his third district congressional seat if he does. Democrats are outnumbered in that district, but as Barack Obama's pick of Janet Napolitano shows, he's willing to surrender a few positions of power -- a Republican, and quite a wacky one, will become governor of Arizona when Napolitano becomes head of Homeland Security. 

A special election would be held to pick the next rep for the district, which sprawls from Pueblo to the Western Slope (the Salazar family has farmed in the San Luis Valley for generations). And potential candidates are already sizing up the odds, since slots like this don't open often. 

The most interesting option for the Democrats: Bernie Buescher, the state representative from Grand Junction who was in line to become the next Colorado Speaker of the House -- until he lost a close race in November. The statesmanlike Buescher is an ally of Bill Ritter, and his support of the governor cost him in this election. But the chance to ran for the big House would be quite a consolation prize. -- Patricia Calhoun

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