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What’s more, Mr. Romanoff could be out of the running by early January: He’s a finalist to succeed Secretary of State Mike Coffman, who leaves office next month to succeed Mr. Tancredo in the state’s 6th Congressional District.

Within the congressional delegation, Mr. Perlmutter, 55, and John Salazar, 55, are receiving most of the attention. But Mr. Salazar was recently named to the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which would presumably give him more clout in Congress than he would have as a freshman senator.

Then there’s the nepotism issue. With Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagejovich recently accused of trying to sell a Senate seat, the naming of John Salazar to the Senate could give rise of speculation that his younger brother had somehow brokered a behind-the-scenes deal.

“Post-Illinois, it doesn’t pass the smell test,” one Colorado political observer said.

A long-shot pick would be Mr. Pena, who headed the transportation and energy departments in the Clinton administration. Despite his Clinton connection, Mr. Pena was a national co-chairman of the Obama for President campaign.

Mr. Pena, 61, could benefit from pressure to keep the seat in Hispanic hands. Similarly, Mrs. Kennedy, 40, who defeated a Republican incumbent to win the state treasurer’s job in 2006, could be the choice of Democrats eager to see more women in the Senate.