03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Ken Salazar Won't Run For Governor; Set To Endorse Hickenlooper (VIDEO)

In a statement issued Thursday, Ken Salazar said he will not run for Governor, as had previously been speculated. The Interior Secretary said he will endorse Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper for Governor.

"Colorado needs a strong, experienced leader with optimism and new ideas for carrying our state forward. That is why I am endorsing John Hickenlooper for Governor of Colorado," Salazar said in a statement.

Rumors circulated
Wednesday that Salazar would replace Governor Bill Ritter on the ticket after the White House indicated that it would not object to the interior secretary resigning his post, and Salazar's brother, Congressman John Salazar, said he was encouraging Ken to run.

Hickenlooper told reporters on Wednesday afternoon that he would consider running for Governor only in Salazar opted not to. He responded on Thursday to Salazar's statement:

"We are very grateful and honored for Secretary Salazar's support. Secretary Salazar is one of Colorado's finest and we greatly admire his public service. This doesn't change our course. My family and I will take the appropriate time to consider whether a run for governor is the right thing to do."

A Rasmussen poll from Wednesday
showed Hickenlooper with stronger favorability numbers than Salazar.

Rumors about a potential gubernatorial run have surrounded the popular Denver Mayor since before the current governor, Bill Ritter, shockingly announced he would not be seeking a second term. Hickenlooper has deflected those rumors, arguing that the mayor of Colorado's largest city battling the governor in an election would hurt the state.

Watch Hickenlooper discuss the Governorship, courtesy of the Denver Post: