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Ken Salazar throws support behind Cary Kennedy in Democratic gubernatorial primary

Author: Ernest Luning - May 1, 2018 - Updated: May 1, 2018

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Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, left, endorses Colorado gubernatorial candidate Cary Kennedy, one of four Democrats running for the office, at Kennedy's Denver campaign headquarters on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo courtesy Kennedy campaign)Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, left, endorses Colorado gubernatorial candidate Cary Kennedy, one of four Democrats running for the office, at Kennedy’s Denver campaign headquarters on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo courtesy Kennedy campaign)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cary Kennedy on Tuesday won an endorsement from former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who said it’s time Colorado elects a woman governor.

“Cary Kennedy is the best person to lead Colorado in the years ahead. She has a vision to protect our land, water and people,” Salazar said, invoking a campaign slogan he made famous during his successful runs for attorney general and the U.S. Senate.

“It’s time for Colorado to elect a woman governor. My mother and grandmother, daughters and granddaughters, and millions of women in our state have waited long enough.”

Salazar, who considered a run for governor himself last year, threw his support behind Kennedy at a press conference at Kennedy’s campaign headquarters in Denver.

Kennedy recalled that she and Salazar first met nearly 30 years ago, when they both worked in Gov. Roy Romer’s administration.

“He has been a role model and mentor to me throughout my career,” she said. “Ken has helped build Colorado into one of the strongest economies in the nation and early on prioritized what is most important — Colorado’s land water and people. I am so humbled to have his support.”

Salazar is a partner with the international law firm WilmerHale and opened the firm’s Denver office. He served as the Obama administration’s first interior secretary from 2009-2013 and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. Before that, Salazar was twice elected Colorado’s attorney general and directed the Colorado Department of Natural Resources under Romer.

Two years ago, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton named Salazar to chair her transition team. He was also said to be under consideration to be her running mate and was mentioned as a potential U.S. Supreme Court nominee for the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. Some have listed Salazar among potential 2020 presidential prospects.

Kennedy is one of four Democrats running for the office held by Gov. John Hickenlooper, a term-limited Democrat. The primary is June 26.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.