The party conventions were held in Colorado and Connecticut over the weekend. In Colorado, on the Senate side, things played out pretty much as expected. For the Dems, Andrew Romanoff won the convention over appointed incumbent Michael Bennet. The 60-40 margin, though, wasn’t a dominant performance; it saw him gain only a small amount of ground among party insiders since the precinct-level caucuses, and it enables Bennet to qualify for the ballot without having to collect signatures.
For the GOP, Weld Co. DA and Tea Party fave Ken Buck won 77% (with 15% for some dude Clive Tidwell), certainly a dominant performance, but that’s largely because ex-LG Jane Norton and ex-state Sen. Tom Wiens, lacking the necessary activist backing, put no effort into contesting the convention. Perhaps the most consequential thing that happened wasn’t until today, when Wiens, who’d been expected to forge ahead with collecting signatures to get on the ballot, pulled a sudden about-face today and dropped out of the race. In another blow to the Norton campaign, Wiens threw his backing to Buck.
The real surprise in Colorado came on the gubernatorial side, where teabagging businessman Dan Maes wound up claiming the top spot over ex-Rep. Scott McInnis, the expected frontrunner. Maes won 49.3-48.9, so McInnis is on the ballot, but this to shake up his projected air of inevitability. On the Dem side, Denver mayor John Hickenlooper had no real opposition en route to the nomination. Further down the ballot, the GOP settled things in CO-03 and CO-04. State Rep. Cory Gardner is the nominee in the 4th, as he pulled in 61%; neither opponent, Dean Madere or Tom Lucero, broke 30% and do not plan to petition onto the ballot. In the 3rd, both state Rep. Scott Tipton and attorney Bob McConnell will be on the primary ballot; they tied at 45%.
In the Nutmeg State, the Democratic Senate nomination turned out to be drama-free despite Richard Blumenthal’s self-inflicted wounds this week. Opponent Merrick Alpert dropped out midway through the process and endorsed Blumenthal, who was then nominated by acclaim. Nevertheless, Blumenthal went further than his press conference in offering a mea culpa over the weekend, following some prodding from fellow Dems, actually saying “I am sorry” in an e-mailed statement. Blumenthal also sent around his own internal poll from GQR, which was taken on the 19th and 20th, shortly after the “in Vietnam” story broke and before the air started to leak out of the NYT piece. It had him beating Linda McMahon 55-40, quite a difference from the Rasmussen poll from the same time period.
In the GOP Senate derby, ex-Rep. Rob Simmons was given the edge by most observers, thanks to his long local political career. Well, the convention participants were wowed by Linda McMahon’s money instead, as well as her ability to pull the wool over the New York Times’ eyes; they went for McMahon 52-45 (with the balance to Peter Schiff). Despite earlier allusions to dropping out if he didn’t win the convention, Simmons now promises to fight on to the primary, which is generating rumbles of concern from party insiders.
The Governor’s race had feisty battles on both sides, won by ex-Stamford mayor Dan Malloy over Ned Lamont on the Dem side, and ex-Ambassador Tom Foley over Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele for the GOP. Despite losing nearly 2-to-1 at the convo, Lamont leads in polls of actual voters and, with a lot of wealth at his disposal, plans to fight on in the primary. On the GOP side, Foley won with about 50% but Fedele and businessman Oz Griebel both cleared the 15% hurdle for the primary; it was the end of the line, though, for long-ago ex-Rep. Larry DeNardis.
Finally, a few GOP House fields in Connecticut got a little more clarity. In the 5th, both state Sen. Sam Caliguri and ex-state military affairs director Justin Bernier made the primary ballot, although Caliguri’s 67% puts him in the driver’s seat. In the 4th, state Sen. Dan Debicella nearly monopolized the vote; Thom Hermann, Rick Torres, and Rob Merkle all plan to seek signatures to qualify. And in the 2nd, former TV news anchor Janet Peckinpaugh, as well as Doug Dubitsky and Daria Novak, all cleared the 15% mark to get on the ballot.