Should Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper decide to run for governor and win, and he is currently at the top of our odds list, somebody is going to have to replace him as mayor. There will be no shortage of candidates, and some are already making their desires known.
Denver City Attorney Cole Finegan reportedly has his eye on the seat, and friends of his are quietly planning scenarios whereby Hick would appoint Finegan as Deputy Mayor, allowing him to run for re-election in May 2007 as acting mayor.
Could Finegan pull it off? Well for starters, he'd have to be a better candidate than he was a campaign manager. Some supporters of former Denver District Attorney Norm Early still blame Finegan for mis-managing Early's campaign for Denver Mayor years ago. Democratic political advisor Mike Stratton also places some blame for Tom Strickland's two U.S. Senate losses on Finegan.
Would Hickenlooper go to bat for Finegan? That's the bigger question, and it depends in part on who else has their eye on the seat. Would Hickenlooper really support Finegan over, say, City Council President Elbra Wedgeworth, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey, or his own Chief of Staff Michael Bennett? (assuming any of those three were interested in the job)
If Hick runs for governor, the line for his seat could grow to as many as 10 names. It would be a hoot to see the cluster of candidates running for mayor if Hick were elected governor.