What’s In It for Ken Salazar?

When Ken Salazar defeated beer magnate Pete Coors in Colorado’s 2004 Senate race, one of the few bright notes for Democrats in a year in which Republicans picked up four seats, the 49-year-old state attorney general seemed destined for national political stardom.

By succeeding in a fast-growing and Republican-leaning state, Salazar seemed to possess the magic formula that national Democrats, stung by consecutive presidential election defeats and cursed by a seemingly intractable electoral map, were searching for.

But now, just four years later and less than two-thirds of the way through that Senate term, Salazar is voluntarily taking himself out of elected politics – probably for good. In so doing, he will create a Senate vacancy that Republicans will be well-positioned to swoop in and claim in 2010. So much for that bright future.

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What’s In It for Ken Salazar?