DENVER – Republican Pete Coors (search), head of the Coors brewing empire, jumped into Colorado's Senate race Tuesday, saying he does not have much political experience but knows a lot about government and creating jobs.
He was immediately endorsed by several key Republicans, including Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (search), whose retirement has thrown the race wide open.
"In the past few days, many people have asked me why. That's the easiest question I've ever had to answer: Because I owe my country a debt of gratitude, and I want to serve my country," Coors said.
Coors, 57, is chairman of Coors Brewing Co. and the great-grandson of Adolph Coors, who founded the brewery in 1873.
Former state GOP chairman Bruce Benson said party leaders approached Coors because he has charisma.
"Pete is that kind of candidate. That's what we need. People have to like you," Benson said.
Campbell, who cited health problems in dropping his re-election bid, said Coors is the best choice to replace him, telling supporters that the businessman can draw broad support from independent voters.
Coors also picked up the endorsement of his friend and longtime supporter Gov. Bill Owens (search), who had earlier thrown his support to the more conservative Schaffer.
The campaign is being watched closely because it could determine control of the Senate, where the Republicans have a 51-48 majority, with one Democratic-leaning independent.