Wake-Up Call: The chase is on

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On Saturday, as railroad enthusiasts chased the 65-year-old Union Pacific steam engine powering the Denver Post train to Cheyenne Frontier Days, the chase was also on inside the train: to find out if Bob Beauprez is going to throw his cowboy hat in the ring for the U.S. Senate seat that Michael Bennet has occupied for just six months.

Beauprez managed to evade his questioners, although he did say that the race -- hypothetically speaking, of course -- will be a costly one, since Bennet has already raised millions. But it's also one of the few Senate seats that could really be in play in 2010, which makes it a very valuable commodity to the Republican National Party. And while Colorado's gubernatorial race already has two competitive candidates in Scott McInniss and Josh Penry, the prospective GOP Senate candidates -- Weld County DA Ken Buck and Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier -- may be interesting personalities, but neither have the sort of national profiles that could attract big bucks.

The national profile of a former congressman like Beauprez, for example.

Of course, Beauprez didn't do all that well when he ran against Bill Ritter in 2006. But there have to be times -- like today, for example, the day state department heads are supposed to give Ritter their ideas for how to cut 10 percent from their budgets, the better to bridge that almost billion-dollar gap projected over the next two years -- when Ritter probably wishes Beauprez had done a lot better.

The only governmental task that might be more challenging than cutting millions from a budget could be sitting through the eight-hour Colorado health department hearing on the rules regarding medical marijuana in this state, which starts at 9 a.m. this morning at the Tivoli.

In comparison, today's Denver City Council meeting should be a real lovefest, particularly since Chris Loffelmacher's Knitting For Our Troops project will be saluted with a public proclamation; council will also be considering the Coors Field view plane proposal. The ride could get rougher on Thursday, July 23, when the city will host a Q&A session on the proposed redevelopment of Union Station and the related transportation plans. The discussion starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Oxford Hotel.

All aboard!

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