In the weeks since [Sen. Michael] Bennet took office, Colorado Democrats continue to keep an eye on [Andrew] Romanoff - who left office in January because of term limits - to see whether he will challenge Ritter's hand-picked successor.
Romanoff could not be reached for comment Monday, but multiple Colorado sources said there has been increasing chatter in political circles that Bennet will not make it through the 2010 primary without a serious challenge.
"I wouldn't be at all surprised if there was a primary against Bennet," said Steve Welchert, who heads up a Denver-based Democratic consulting firm. "It would shock me if he wasn't challenged."
Romanoff is even being drafted through a spontaneous Facebook group! Okay, seriously, this is an issue. I don't know whether Romanoff would actually do this and risk splitting the party this way, but it's definitely splittable, and Welchert is a reliable source. And if Romanoff believes that he could win the general election in 2010 and Bennet couldn't (not a crazy assumption), why wouldn't he go through with this?
It would be an ugly primary. Romanoff has a lot of fans among party leaders throughout the state. Bennet would have the backing of the governor and his people, along with whomever he's able to convert in the next year. Both are very bright and likeable candidates with access to money.
Ritter would be wise to try to buy Romanoff off with some sort of plum appointment. (Secretary of state would have been a good idea, but nooooo.) Hell, make him head coach of the Broncos or something.