Nighthorse Campbell Retires
US Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) unexpectedly announced on Wednesday that he was ending his 2004 campaign for re-election. “I feel the time has come to pass that duty on to another and return to my ranch with my family that I love,” said Campbell. The Senator, 70, said that a hospitalization last week for severe heartburn that mimicked the symptoms of a heart attack forced him to reflect on his health. He acknowledged last year that he is also undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, but his doctors gave him a “98% chance” of recovery. On top of that, Campbell’s office is facing increasing scrutiny in recent days related to purported salary kickback scheme involving his Chief of Staff and another aide. Still, Campbell was favored to win re-election because the Democrats had been unable to produce a top-level challenger. Campbell was first elected to Congress as a Democrat, but switched parties after his election to the US Senate. With Campbell out of the race, most observers believe term-limited Governor Bill Owens (R) will quickly jump into the contest. Other possible new candidates for the seat may include retiring Congressman Scott McInnis (R) and Congressman Mark Udall (D).