CO-SEN: Suthers Out

Attorney General John Suthers, the only Republican elected statewide in Colorado, will not challenge newly-minted Senator Michael Bennet in 2010:

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers pulled himself out of both the U.S. Senate race and the gubernatorial contest next year, announcing today that he would instead seek re-election.

Suthers said in a statement he considered running for both governor against Bill Ritter and the senate seat held now by Michael Bennet. But as the sole Republican holding statewide office, which leaves him without GOP heavy hitters to assist in fundraising and campaigning, either race would take him away from his duties as attorney general, he said.

In addition, former Rep. Scott McInnis, who lost to Mark Udall in the 2008 Senate election, has also signaled that he won’t challenge Bennet.

This means that the GOP’s two biggest potential Senate candidates won’t be running; it’s unclear now who will end up challenging Bennet.  But this development indicates that it will be far harder for the CO GOP to win this seat back than first imagined.