Colorado Senate Campaign Ads

The Democratic primary in Colorado pits Senator Michael Bennet, who was appointed by Governor Bill Ritter to fill the vacancy left by Ken Salazar's departure to become Interior Secretary in the Obama Administration, versus Andrew Romanoff, a member of the Colorado House of Representatives from 2000 to 2008, serving as Speaker from 2005 to 2008. For Bennet, this is his first run for elective office. 

The contest is intriguing on various levels. To begin with, the Obama Administration has backed the incumbent while former President Bill Clinton has endorsed Andrew Romanoff, who is considered the more progressive of the two. The race is also the most competitive of any in the current cycle. Though Senator Bennet held a 17 point lead back in early June, Romanoff has managed to turn the race into a dead heat. While most polls show Bennet with a slight lead, a new poll in the Denver Post conducted by SurveyUSA gives Romanoff a narrow three point edge. The primary is August 10th.

The race has also turned increasingly negative. Romanoff's rise in the polls has come after a sustained month-long ad campaign that's attacked Bennet for taking corporate PAC money. Here are some of the ads being run in the campaign. 

Senator Michael Bennet

This second ad is a response to the Romanoff ads shown below.

Andrew Romanoff

The above spot is entitled A Senator for the Rest of Us while the one below is entitle I Stand With You. Both are 30 second spots.

This third spot is the one that caused the latest ruckus.

CO-Sen: Romanoff will have top line on Dem primary ballot

Colorado Democrats held their State Assembly today, and just over 60 percent of the 3,500 delegates picked former State House Speaker Andrew Romanoff over incumbent U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. Clearing the 60 percent threshold means Romanoff will have the top line on the ballot for the Democratic primary in August. Bennet also qualified for the primary ballot, because more than 30 percent of the delegates supported him today.

Bennet has led the early polling of the Democratic primary, but he's been under 50 percent in every poll against Romanoff. In addition, Romanoff has much more campaign experience than Bennet, who has never won an election. (Bennet was appointed to the Senate seat after President Obama named Ken Salazar Secretary of the Interior.) The biggest advantages Bennet has going into the primary are superior fundraising and support from Obama. Romanoff said today that "some fundraisers had told him they were waiting for good results Saturday before committing money to him. He believes he will raise enough to be on television, a key feature in combating Bennet's multimillion-dollar fundraising operation." I don't know how involved Obama will be in Bennett's campaign. He recorded ads supporting incumbent Blanche Lincoln before the Arkansas Democratic primary and was featured in Arlen Specter's commercials before the Pennsylvania Democratic primary.

Polling of the Senate race in Colorado indicates that Bennet and Romanoff fare comparably against the likely Republican nominee, former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton. If Norton loses the Republican primary, which is possible, Democratic chances of holding this Senate seat would improve.

Any thoughts about Colorado politics are welcome in this thread.

CO-Sen: Yeah, Jane Norton is That Radically Right-Wing

As Senator Michael Bennet and former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff square off for the Democratic nomination, the Republican primary appears to be a battle over who can most appeal to the furthest right-wing elements of an already hyper-conservative Republican Party. While the Democrats are running largely centrist campaigns, despite being amid a Democratic primary, the Republican establishment pick and primary front-runner, former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, is doing nothing to cater to a general election electorate. Rather, Norton is joining her primary competition in far-right-wing revelry, espousing radical rhetoric and featuring a right-wing background that would make any sensible moderate shudder. Here are some of Jane Norton's greatest hits.

First, Jane Norton would completely eliminate the Department of Education. Discussion of eliminating the Department of Education was a popular topic of far-right-wing conservatives during the Reagan 80's and Gingrich early-to-mid 90's. One of the key traits of teabaggers has been ignorance - ignorance at the Obama Administration's tax cuts for middle- and lower-income families, ignorance at President Obama's birthplace and religion, and so on. Since she's part of a movement marked by turning ignorance into a virtue, why not eliminate the federal department committed to improving the education of Americans.

Second, after we've all spent the last year watching the tumultuous health care reform debates, I think we can all agree that we're not big fans of health care lobbyists. Well, for five years, Jane Norton was a health care lobbyist. She lobbied for the Medical Group Management Association, first as Executive Director in their Office of Strategic Relationship, then as Director of their Office of State Government Relations. On top of that, she subsequently lied about having been a lobbyist, given that lobbyist is one of the dirtiest words in politics nowadays.

Third, going full Palin, Jane Norton chooses not to correct misinformation spouted by supporters at her events, misinformation designed to prey on individuals' basest instincts, fear and hate. At a small coffee shop visit, a Norton supporter repeatedly said of President Obama, "He's a Muslim!" Rather than politely correct the misinformed supporter about the President's religion (notwithstanding the fact that, to this individual, "Muslim" is tantamount to a hateful slur), Norton rather put a positive spin on it, praising the "passion around what is happening in our own country." Perhaps Norton doesn't realize the mistake and actually is under the impression that President Obama is a member of the Muslim faith. If that's the case, perhaps Norton also believes that President Obama was actually born in Kenya. It'd be swell if someone in the Colorado media maybe asked her.

Fourth, it sounds like Liz Cheney drafted her stump speech:
And what I believe is happening... is the fact that the rights of terrorists are more important in this administration that the lives of American citizens.
This is an ignorant and hypocritical response to the Obama Administration trying underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in criminal court rather than military tribunal. Why is it ignorant and hypocritical? Because the George W. Bush Administration successfully tried shoe bomber Richard Reid in criminal court rather than military tribunal. Basically, according to Jane Norton, President Obama is siding with terrorists over Americans because he did something exactly the same as George W. Bush. Interesting. This ignorance and hypocrisy not too dissimilar from Norton calling on President Obama to balance the budget in his first term or not run for re-election, even though he was handed record deficits by George W. Bush (who, you might recall, was handed recorded surpluses by President Bill Clinton but squandered them).

Fifth, Jane Norton sounds like she's supportive of either privatizing or abolishing Social Security:
With regard to Social Security, it has turned into a Ponzi scheme. The money that people pay into it should be there for when they are ready to retire.
Taken literally, that individuals' money "should be there" waiting for them specifically when they retire, Norton seems to clearly support privatizing Social Security into personal accounts. Taken more broadly, that Norton believes Social Security is best likened to a Ponzi scheme, an illegal and fraudulent financial structure, one could reasonably surmise that she'd be willing to rid the country of Social Security altogether. Again, it might be helpful for a member of the Colorado media to press her on the topic. If she wants to privatize or eliminate Social Security, perhaps Colorado's hundreds of thousands of seniors receiving Social Security ought to know.

When all of this is assembled, it paints a picture of Jane Norton that is so far out of the political mainstream, she can no longer see it from her house. Taken together, Jane Norton is a fear-mongering, misinformation-spreading, ignorance-championing, Social Security-privatizing former lobbyist who would be happy to weaken education, health care and the rule of law in America. So, yeah, Jane Norton is that radically right-wing.

For news and analysis on the U.S. Senate races around the country, regularly read Senate Guru.

Romanoff Stands up for Net Neutrality, Slams Comcast v. FCC Decision

Wanted to make sure everyone saw Andrew Romanoff taking a strong stand on net neutrality and for consumers in the wake of the recent court decision in Comcast v. FCC. This is one of the many reasons we need Andrew Romanoff in the U.S. Senate. Click here to contribute to his campaign:

There's more...

CO-Sen: Primary Challenge Pushes Bennett Left

Former state house Speaker Andrew Romanoff seems to be the progressive favorite in the Colorado Democratic Senate primary, but Senator Michael Bennett’s worth another look. The freshman Senator is still deciding what type of lawmaker and candidate he wants to be, and Romanoff’s challenge is helping push him to the left.

This cycle’s health insurance fight is drawing to a close, but let’s not stick it away in the back of our memories just yet. Alan Grayson wasn’t the only progressive hero to step forward. Across the Capitol, it was Bennett who took the lead in fighting for a public option via reconciliation and organized 23 other senators to join him.

But you already knew that. Here’s what’s new: 22 Senators, including Bennett, have signed Tom Udall’s letter to Harry Reid emphasizing the link between job creation and comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation. The 22 are pushing for a floor vote on the issue this year to make sure it doesn’t get lost in the short calendar shuffle amidst immigration, financial regulation, and other job reform measures. It seems that Bennett is showing as much progressive spine on the environment as he did on health care, even in his purple state.

At the moment, Romanoff does better in general election match-ups than does Bennett from both PPP and Rasmussen. Part of this is due to the fact that Bennett was appointed, not elected, to his office, and 22 percent of voters don’t know enough about him to have an opinion one way or the other. That means, however, that unlike most incumbents, he still has time to define himself, and would likely do better in November than currently seems.

Both Romanoff and Bennett have the burden of the incumbent Democratic label, but only one would get to use the positive tools of the office. I don’t know enough about Romanoff to pick one candidate over the other, but I will say that his push from the left sure is helping Bennett be a better Senator (as David Sirota predicted it would). Don’t count Bennett out yet, and be a lot happier about him now than you were a year ago.


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