Wake-Up Call: Watch the fireworks...over the Senate nomination

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Denver's fireworks display won't officially start until 9 p.m. December 31 (with a repeat performance at midnight), but there have already been plenty of explosive discussions over who, exactly, Governor Bill Ritter should nominate to fill Ken Salazar's soon-to-be-empty Senate seat -- and what coveted slot might then be empty.

So far, the most talked-about spots are the first congressional district seat now occupied by Diana DeGette -- which could be vacant if Ritter buys DeGette's argument that it's time to put a Colorado woman in the Senate, and she's just the gal. And then there's the office of the Denver mayor, which Hickenlooper holds until 2011 -- unless he becomes Senator Hickenlooper. At least a half-dozen politicos are interested in either one of those slots.

While new names emerge every day (Polly Baca?), a few folks have taken themselves out of the running for the Senate seat: Federico Pena, for example. And Tom Downey, the head of the Children's Museum (and a member of Ritter's task force that considered candidates for the Colorado Secretary of State vacancy recently filled by Bernie Buescher), who sent out this hilarious release:

Tom Downey Removes Self from Consideration for US Senate Denver, CO- Following the slew of elected officials and community leaders disclosing that they are seeking appointment to the US Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Ken Salazar, Tom Downey, President of the Children's Museum, has asked Gov. Ritter to remove his name from consideration. Upon hearing of Downey's withdrawal, Gov. Ritter was quoted as saying, "Tom who?"

Downey felt obligated to make his announcement after a "ripple, rather than a flood" of inquiries... exclusively from people who work for him and whose salaries he controls, in response to Downey's not-so-subtle soliciting, and usually after awkward silences. In removing himself from consideration, Downey noted that he still had many goals to accomplish at the Children's Museum. He also proved himself to be a pathetic political wannabe by saying that he wanted to spend more time with his family. Downey's mother-in-law, Helen Fox, responded by saying, "Oh, get over yourself." In a sign of supporting Downey's decision, Gov. Ritter's Chief of Staff, Jim Carpenter, said, "Please stop bothering me!"

With his refreshing break from the usual hot-air rhetoric, Downey's got my vote. Too bad he's not running. Yet. -- Patricia Calhoun

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