03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Ken Salazar Governor? Rumors Say Former Senator Is Early Favorite To Replace Ritter

Update: John Hickenlooper said Wednesday afternoon that he would consider running for Governor, but would wait to see whether Ken Salazar decides to enter the race. "Ken Salazar is Ken Salazar. Should Ken Salazar decide to run I'd probably be his first volunteer," said the Denver mayor.

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Reports are circulating that Interior Secretary and former Colorado Senator Ken Salazar is the early favorite to take the Democratic mantle from Bill Ritter in Colorado. The Atlantic's Mark Ambinder reports that Salazar is the favorite of the White House, although he does not cite specific sources.

The Denver Post reported Wednesday afternoon that Salazar has been given the OK by the White House to run for Governor should he choose to do so. However, Obama administration officials have communicated to Salazar that they would prefer for him to stay in Washington.

Meanwhile 9 News reports that Salazar's brother, Representative John Salazar, is telling friends that he believes Ken will run for Governor. John Salazar has also said that he is actively encouraging his brother to run, telling the Pueblo Chieftain "Ken knows the state, and he knows all the issues. Of course, he's only been Interior secretary for a year and I don't want to be putting words in his mouth."

The Post reported Tuesday evening that the Interior Secretary is "under tremendous pressure" from Colorado Democrats to enter the race.

Politico has even reported on (pure) speculation that the Obama administration will tap Arnold Schwarzenegger to replace Salazar at the Interior Department once he leaves to run for Governor.

Salazar would not answer questions regarding the Governor's race when he announced new oil and gas regulations Wednesday morning.