Allard won’t run for Senate again |

Allard won’t run for Senate again

U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., laughs during a news conference announcing he will not seek re-election in 2008 as his wife Joan Allard looks on during a news conference at the state capitol, Monday, Jan. 15, 2007, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

DENVER Colorado Republican Sen. Wayne Allard said Monday he will not run for re-election in 2008, setting up what one politician called a “battle of the titans” as Democrats try to wrest away another seat once considered safe for the GOP.”This is going to be a blowout race. Battle of the titans,” said former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a Republican.He said it could be the first campaign in state history to cost $20 million as Colorado Republicans try to stanch a long series of losses over the past two years, including a U.S. Senate seat, two House seats, the Legislature and the governor’s office.Sen. Ken Salazar, a Democrat, said what happens in the 2008 race could easily shift the balance in the Senate, which is now split 49-49 with two independents who normally vote with Democrats.Allard said he would stand by a pledge he made in 1996, when he first won the Senate seat, to serve only two terms. “Today, I’m announcing that I will honor my term limits pledge to the people of Colorado. I believe a promise made should be a promise kept,” he said.At least two Republicans – former Congressman Scott McInnis and Attorney General John Suthers – said they were considering running for the seat. Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Udall has said he would run whether Allard did or not.Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper has also been mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate but has not said if he will enter the race.

Former Gov. Bill Owens, a Republican who left office last week after term limits prevented him from running again, said Monday he would not seek the seat.”I won’t run in 2008. After six days, I’m very comfortable in the private sector and plan to stay here for a long time,” he told The Associated Press.Owens refused to identify who he would back in the race but he McInnis “will be at the top of the list.”McInnis is “looking very closely” at running and will decide in the near future, spokeswoman Susan Smith said.Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Republican and a firebrand opponent of illegal immigration, had considered running but is no longer interested and is encouraging McInnis to run, Tancredo spokesman Carlos Espinosa.Tancredo was weighing whether to run for president in 2008 to press for stricter immigration controls. Espinosa said he would announce his intentions by Tuesday.Former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway has also been mentioned as a potential Republican candidate. Campbell said he doubted Elway would run because the Hall of Fame quarterback, now in private business, would want to keep his positive image.

Allard said he would not choose sides in a primary. He said he announced his plans early to give Republicans time to prepare for the next election.Bob Loevy, a political science professor at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, said Allard’s decision weakens Republicans’ chances of holding the seat.”You are always better off running an incumbent,” he said.GOP campaign manager Dick Wadhams, who has been courted by Republicans to become state party chairman, conceded Allard’s decision is a loss for the party but said it also offers opportunity.”The incumbency is a very powerful tool in an election, but new faces are very important as well,” said Wadhams, who managed Allard’s 1996 campaign.Allard’s political strength came into question in 2006 when Time magazine ranked him as one of the five worst U.S. senators.”In a Senate full of ambitious members, Colorado Republican Wayne Allard is so bland that his critics have dubbed him ‘Dullard,”‘ Time said.

The article criticized him for “almost never” playing a major role in legislation despite being a Republican on the powerful Budget and Appropriations committees.Allard’s chief of staff, Sean Conway, criticized the Time ranking as “more like a popularity poll” and said it was based mostly on opinion.Allard said he expects his last two years in office to be productive, although his party has fallen into minority status. He said he has already introduced 16 bills this year.Campbell said Allard’s retirement “is a huge loss for Colorado because of his seniority” but he praised him for honoring his pledge.”It does speak the type of integrity Wayne has,” Campbell said. “He said he would only serve two terms, and he’s honoring that promise.” —Associated Press Writer Jennifer Talhelm in Washington contributed to this report.

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