ABC News’ David Chalian Reports: Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter of Colorado, who was in for a tough reelection fight this year, canceled a scheduled fundraiser this evening and has decided not to seek reelection, according to Democratic sources familiar with the governor’s plans.
Former Congressman Scott McInnis is the likely GOP nominee and will have a far clearer shot at becoming governor in an open-seat race. Colorado (home to all those stories last year about the Democrats making political inroads in the Mountain West during Obama’s Denver convention) is likely to now be a potentially good pickup opportunity for Republicans.
However, Democrats are far from ready to concede the race just yet. Former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff has been a thorn in the national Democrats' side with his primary challenge to appointed Sen. Michael Bennet. Several Democrats believe Romanoff will now take a serious look at the governor’s race instead of continuing his Senate battle. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper is another Democrat said to be taking a look at the statewide run now that Ritter has announced his decision to forgo the race.
It is not shaping up to be a pretty week for the Democrats.
The all-but-assured Democratic nominee for governor in Michigan, Lt. Gov. John Cherry, ended his bid today. Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota announced he will not seek reelection this year. And now word from Colorado that the first term Democratic governor there is shying away from facing voters again in November.
You will certainly hear a lot of talk from Republicans that Democrats are beginning to face the reality of just how tough the current political landscape looks for them and they are running for the hills.
All eyes now turn to Chris Dodd in Connecticut, widely believed to be one of the most vulnerable statewide Democratic incumbents this cycle, to see if he intends to stick with his huge uphill battle for reelection.