Sen. Wayne Allard has decided to honor his pledge to serve only two terms, thus creating the first open seat of the 2006 cycle. Allard would have faced a very difficult reelection had he decided to run for a third term. Now, Democrat Rep. Mark Udall, who was already in the race, must be considered the early favorite. Udall`s very early declaration of his candidacy enabled him to start raising money like a Senate candidate rather than a House candidate.
Republicans have no shortage of potential candidates, including, most intriguingly, former Broncos quarterback John Elway. While her name has not been floated, the candidate at the top of my list is Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, whose leadership in the House on issues like marriage protection has been invaluable. She has consistently survived tough challenges, including in 2006, frustrating the left to no end. In the Senate, she would fill the current void of conservative women leaders, hopefully setting the trend for other conservative women who would hope to run for Congress`s upper house.