CO-Sen: Romanoff to Challenge Bennet; Buck Out, Norton Likely In

Lots of big moves in the Colorado Senate race to report.

First, comes the big whopper. After Michael Bennet appeared to succeed in deterring any primary challengers from emerging in the many months since his appointment, former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff is going to take the plunge, according to the Denver Post:

Former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff is poised to mount a Democratic primary campaign against Sen. Michael Bennet.

Urged to challenge Gov. Bill Ritter as he seeks re-election in 2010, Romanoff has instead turned his attention to next year’s U.S. Senate race, sources close to Romanoff told The Denver Post. One source reported that Romanoff offered a campaign position to a veteran Democratic strategist.

Romanoff could not be reached for comment Friday night, but several people close to him said they expect him to announce next month.

Wally Stealey, a longtime lobbyist and political mover in Pueblo, said Romanoff called him Friday morning to tell him he had decided to run.

Romanoff was apparently under a lot of pressure from labor officials and activists to challenge Gov. Bill Ritter in the Democratic primary. (Ritter, as you may be aware, has utterly poisoned his relationship with organized labor in the state by issuing veto after veto of union-backed legislation.) It seems that Romanoff considers the fresh outta prep-school Bennet to be the easier target. While Bennet hasn’t been awful in office, he hasn’t exactly endeared himself to anyone in particular yet, either. This will be a primary well worth watching.

On the GOP side of the equation, it looks like the race is beginning to streamline around the NRSC’s pick, former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton. With Bob Beauprez’s drop-out still fresh in the press, it appears that Weld County DA Ken Buck is also going to pull the plug on his candidacy on Monday, clearing another obstacle for Norton. Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier is still in the race, but his fundraising has been well below par, as is unknown businessman Cleve Tidwell. Former state Sen. Tom Wiens may also make a race of it, but there’s little doubt that he’s under pressure to stay out.

(Hat-tip: Rtael)

SSP currently rates this race as Lean D.

RaceTracker Wiki: CO-Sen

30 thoughts on “CO-Sen: Romanoff to Challenge Bennet; Buck Out, Norton Likely In”

  1. Just curious, being a former House Speaker, how strong would Romanoff be in the General if he does beat Bennet? Would Romanoff winning the primary boost our chances of holding the seat or would it probably still stay as Lean D?

  2. Somewhat off-topic but still cool.

    I went to do a Google search on “Andrew Romanoff” and for “News Results”, SSP is the top site!

  3. I tend to agree, as long as they keep it civil. Bennet’s biggest problem has been lack of name recognition and this certainly helps.

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