Smoke-filled room

The Denver Post reports:

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the nation’s highest-ranking elected Hispanic official, threw his support Saturday behind Attorney General Ken Salazar – and Colorado Hispanics – vowing to funnel money into the state to increase Hispanic voter registration and turnout.

“As of today, Colorado will get financial support to turn out more Hispanics in November,” Richardson said in an interview.

The governor, who is also chairman of the Democratic National Convention, was the keynote speaker at the Colorado Democrats’ annual Jefferson Jackson dinner.

The emergence of Salazar as the Democrats’ highest profile candidate for U.S. Senate is a “thunderbolt” not only for the state but also for the nation, Richardson said.

“Colorado is now targeted as a possible pickup state for the Democrats in the presidential election,” Richardson said. …

Sitting back in an overstuffed chair in his hotel room, white smoke rising from his cigar, Richardson said he was flattered by being mentioned.

“But I have the best job I’ve ever had,” he said about being governor, noting that his first term doesn’t expire until 2006. “I’ve committed myself.”