BREAKING: Romanoff To Challenge Bennet?

(Bumped into Saturday, obviously – promoted by Colorado Pols)



Denver Post with the 7:45PM story:

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 the U.S. Senate race, sources told the Denver Post. One source reported that Romanoff offered a campaign position to a veteran Democratic strategist…

A source said Romanoff would need to keep the support of people who had pledged to back him if he challenged Ritter. Labor officials, in particular, have expressed displeasure with Ritter over several controversial vetoes and were eager to funnel money toward a primary challenge.

It is unclear whether the same level of enthusiasm would exist for a challenge of Bennet, the source close to Romanoff said. Others said they had urged Romanoff that a challenge would be tough to pull off given the fund-raising head start Bennet had.

Admit it, folks, it’s been in the back of your minds for months. But a lot of that time was before Bennet raised millions of dollars, and didn’t fully disappoint Democratic primary likely voters. We just don’t see the same prevalent mood that made this seem inevitable a few months ago. Conventional wisdom would suggest a serious challenge should have got going some time ago to be real, but it’s too late on a Friday for us to rule anybody out of anything–especially not the longsuffering Andrew Romanoff himself, who everybody we know, Republican and Democrat alike, has something nice to say about. What about you?

235 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Retired says:

    He is a thoughtful leader from working class roots unlike our created Senator

    • twas brillig says:

      In political terms with his consistent activist outreach and his fundraising prowess; in policy terms with his support for a public option as part of meaningful health care reform; and in terms of an amazing work ethic–made obvious by his being extremely well briefed and thoughtful on policy issues, as well as extremely diligent about getting out into communities and meeting with constituents.

      I pulled for Ritter to pick Andrew Romanoff. I was disappointed when he didn’t, but thought that a non-traditional pick like Bennet might make sense outside the prism of party politics. To confuse the appointment process with Bennet as a person is muddled thinking at best. I think time has proven that. I used to think a primary would be fun, regardless, but the stakes at the national level are so high right now.

      It’s a shame that Romanoff isn’t in a position to serve the public in a way that mobilizes his great skill. But when it comes to the United States Senate, it all comes down to mathematics. Colorado’s late primary is a real disruptor; it puts at risk the math that means we have more Democrats than Republicans in charge and undoing the lunacy of the Bush years. And so having a disruptive primary will end up taking eyes off of important races and important candidates at the state level while party activists engage in an overwrought psychodrama brought on by a primary fight.

      Bennet has earned my respect, and I suspect the respect of a lot more people in Colorado than some here might think. The petty and spiteful attacks on Bennet’s experiences and background will no doubt be recycled and shilled to annoying effect in this thread and others, but they certainly won’t be persuading me anytime soon to reconsider. If the “Draft Romanoff” fiasco was any example, that sort of thing just manages to undermine Andrew.

      The ship has sailed, and a late Friday trial balloon can’t bring it back. Andrew is starting from zero after Bennet has raised a ton of money, consolidated support from elected officials, major donors, and many Democratic activists. The perception that a sense of frustrated entitlement drives this kind of decision will end up squandering political capital; not the other way around.

      • RedGreenRedGreen says:

        That’s an extraordinarily well reasoned (and written) analysis, twas.

      • Republican 36 says:

        Like you, I supported Mr. Romanoff for the seat. However, Senator Bennett has earned my respect and I’m supporting him for reelection.

        • wade norris says:

          #1 Romanoff would be splitting the party to challenge a sitting governor

          #2 He may have thought of waiting to run for governor after a second Ritter term, but maybe he thinks Ritter won’t get a second term.

          #3 Bennet is a good guy, but I would like to see his name ID with Dem primary voters and then cross tab that with Dem Primary voters who do happen to know him and would rather vote for Romanoff.  Romanoff has great name ID, favorability and is known in the rural part of the state, not just Denver.

          Well, since the Broncos are going to suck it this fall, maybe this race will make for some excitement.

          Also – I noticed a lot of names on this comment page who I have never seen before – any paid staffers out there ?????

          back to writing…

      • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

        I was going to write something like that and you beat me to it.

        For those wanting more details:

        My lunch with Speaker Romanoff

        My breakfast with Senator Bennet

        Both are incredibly talented quality candidates. I’m also not that worried about a primary as I think we’ll find it very edifying and I don’t think it will be a race for the gutter.

      • Meiner49erMeiner49er says:

        And so having a disruptive primary will end up taking eyes off of important races and important candidates at the state level while party activists engage in an overwrought psychodrama brought on by a primary fight.

        Whether the primary is “disruptive” in the sense of head-to-head bloodletting or not, there is little doubt that “twas” is right on here. Romanoff’s estimated $1.5 million “out there” is money that could be used elsewhere in the state.  The same goes for volunteer hours.  

        The Speaker has done so much FOR Colorado’s Dems, and he might be able to pull this one off too.  This late in the game, though, it seems the question to ask is whether a slightly deeper shade of blue in the Senate is worth a slightly more reddish shade of purple here in Colorado?

        • twas brillig says:

          There has to be a very compelling case for this kind of primary, one constructed of at least a few convincing arguments that demonstrate the following: (a) why Michael Bennet ought to be fired; (b) why Andrew Romanoff wants to and should be a replacement; and, (c) that a primary challenge of an incumbent can be successful while not jeopardizing Democratic control of the seat itself.

          I’m not sure such a case can be made here. I’m sorry, but repetitively saying “Ritter pisses me off,” or “Andrew is so nice and really smart,” or “Michael Bennet hasn’t proven [insert arbitrary complaint] to me personally” is not at all a compelling or persuasive case for putting a US Senate seat in jeopardy.  

          • redstateblues says:

            You’re really a Jane Norton sock puppet who is trying to get the weaker opponent in Bennet right? I mean, how else could you come to the conclusion that Bennet isn’t the DEVIL, and Romanoff isn’t THE GREATEST MAN ALIVE?

          • Gilpin GuyGilpin Guy says:

            I got an mailer with him promoting his yearning for bipartisan consensus health care legislation.  Can you say Mark Udall with less polish?

            Give Romanoff a chance to make the case to Dem. voters that he will actually promote Democratic values.  I’m not sold on Bennett and would enjoy a real debate between Romanoff and Ritter’s chosen one about what it means to be a Democrat in Colorado.

            Bring it on.  I’m tired of these wankers who profess to be Democrats when they need your money but hang out with McCain the rest of the time.

            Ritter’s poked rank and file Dems. in the eye with Bennett so let him face Democrats and explain why he deserves to be their candidate in the general.  Bring it on.

            • Meiner49erMeiner49er says:

              …would enjoy a real debate between Romanoff and Ritter’s chosen one about what it means to be a Democrat in Colorado.

              Yeah, debates like that are working out so well for the Republicans these days.  Just ask Don Marostica!

              IF there are real policy differences that will matter for Coloradans, then I’ll hear Andrew out.  I doubt it.  The fact is, replacing one moderate-to-left leaning junior Senator with another moderate-to-left leaning junior Senator is not going to matter much to the citizens of Colorado. Andrew’s a better public speaker than Bennet, for sure.  But, he’ll still be one voice in 100 if he wins, and a voice that will be told to wait  his turn, and to learn the ropes.  The Senate is not known for welcoming or tolerating up-starts.

              So, if all this is about is defining what it means to be a Democrat in Colorado, Romanoff should either stay out, or be going for the Governor’s office. The latter is the only pulpit that would afford him that opportunity.

              • Gilpin GuyGilpin Guy says:

                It seems to me that the Republicans cherry pick their candidates the same way you want Democrats to.  Ask Marc Holtzman who that turned out.

                I have to ask what is so wrong with a primary that it makes you think it will automatically cost the winner the election in the general?  Primaries are a good way for the candidate to practice their speeches and debating skills.  It toughens them up for the general against a more nasty opponent and it forces them to go to the people and listen to their concerns.

                If we had better primaries we would end up with better candidates and not have to accept the backroom deals where Salazar and Udall decide who goes next.  We’re stuck with Udall for a generation and while he might excite the comatose, nobody is going to mistake him for Gary Hart.  Better primaries produce better candidates period.  Instead of wringing your hands about how this is going to deliver us into perdition and ruin, you should go back and read some high school civics books.

                • redstateblues says:

                  Do they teach political reality in high school civics books? I think that this tendency to oversimplify everything down to The American Pageant would be a mistake.

                  If the two candidates were different in policy, rather than personality, then you would have a better case about public debate. Maybe Romanoff will remake himself as an ultra-liberal union loving, business-hating progressive, but I doubt it.

                  This primary will have everything to do with appearances, and very little to do with public debate IMO.

                  • wade norris says:

                    this statement –

                    If the two candidates were different in policy, rather than personality, then you would have a better case about public debate. Maybe Romanoff will remake himself as an ultra-liberal union loving, business-hating progressive, but I doubt it.

                    this is what I have been told by some others and it very well could be true. But people should have a choice of representation – the entire unilateral Senate appointment process by the executive in this state is undemocratic.

                    It is my humble hope that this primary will force Bennet and Romanoff to say where they stand on the issues that are important to Democrats – especially the Progressive democrats.

                    My own gripe is that the Conservadem movement will be part of the hold up of any meaningful Climate Change legislation – and the legislation they would stand in the way of, does not go nearly far enough to stop some of the catastrophes our planet faces.

                    Will Romanoff step up? don’t know – will it make Bennet define himself for the party – yes.

                    Voters will benefit in this case.

                    • redstateblues says:

                      Change the process. Otherwise, it’s not a reason to support Romanoff over Bennet given their similar policy positions. I’m sure Romanoff will try to differentiate himself from Bennet in small ways, but as it stands right now, they’re very similar.

                    • Gilpin GuyGilpin Guy says:

                      but it could be that Romanoff is simply a better politician in the long run.  People count as much as policy positions as we have found out with Ritter and maybe just maybe Romanoff is a better politician.  Bennet should welcome the chance to state where he stands on progressive issues.  The country is turning away from the failures of radical Reagan conservatism so it shouldn’t be necessary to sneak around pretending not to be a Democrat.

                      I find this fear of primaries a sad commentary on our society that we are soooo afraid to have people compete and instead want the king to anoint a chosen one.  The assumption that it is somehow unfair to ask Bennet to present himself to Democratic voters for their approval is bogus beyond belief.

                    • twas brillig says:

                      having primaries for the sake of having primaries (which essentially what your argument boils down to) seems like an enormous waste of time. Since I don’t think any candidate gets into a primary for the sake of having a primary, maybe that should be the focus of discussion. But there does seems to be a small segment of the Democratic Party that routinely bangs the drum for circular firing squads. Never understood the point of all that.  

                    • Gilpin GuyGilpin Guy says:

                      The point of primaries is to give people a choice and the end result is that the people get to choose who their candidate will be.  The counter argument that primaries are bad because the candidates have to work for their position on the ticket basically boils down to a lazy elite class who want to run things without having to go before the voters.

                      Ritter picks Bennet so that’s it.  End of discussion.  He never ran for an elected office in his career and had never submitted a piece of legislation or done any constituent work before Ritter placed him on the untouchable pedestal.

                      “Don’t confuse the voters with choices because we have already decided for you”.

                      This paranoid fear of giving people a choice in the matter is totally at odds with the concept of politics as the arena of ideas.  Let these people compete based on their personalities and their ideas and let the people be the judges.  Bennet seems to have no problems raising money from out of state so who is he really beholden to?   Obviously it isn’t to the Democratic voters who didn’t have any say in his anointing.  He should have taken the position as an interim appointment and allowed for all the Democrats in the state decide their next candidate.  This is just too elitist a way to run government.

                    • wade norris says:

                      so Obama, just go away…

                      or else.

      • A-bob says:

        Bennet is not fit for Senate at all, if you ever meet him.

      • silverandblue says:

        twas has spoken.  Bennet has no experience and a lot of money from California, New York… just about anywhere accept Colorado.  And he met Mr brillig!  Fold your tent right now or Mr. brillig will be mad.

  2. Ralphie says:

    As Kennedy running against Carter.

    I like Romanoff, but primarying an incumbent would do incurable damage to his party.  I think Andy is too smart to do that.

    If he does it anyway, I’d have to consider his ego a data point. It wouldn’t work in his favor.

    • Libertad says:

      The book on Romanoff, unfortunately, is he has no backbone.  Bennet will exploit that with his backers (the rich, elites, those buying access).  Romanoff, he’ll exploit the position-less former Superintendent.

      The upside with Romanoff is you know what you’re getting – like Owens, Penry, Wirth, DeGette.  The bitch for Bennet is Romanoff can communicate at a level that Bennet cannot.  Romanoff has run statewide campaigns, deftly manages a caucus and has activists.

      Clearly if Romanoff walks out of the big meet-up with top line Bennet is toast.  There must be some heads at The Palm and Capitol Grille exploding.

    • BoulderDem says:

      Romanoff can win a primary, no question about it. I say that partly because everyone seems to forget that this is an open seat, and Bennet was literally unknown when selected. I say that also because Bennet is tied at the hip to Ritter, who is becoming very unpopular in the Dem base. I say that thirdly because Bennet, though I know him and consider him one of the smartest people in public life I’ve ever met, has been pretty bad in group settings (he’s much better one on one) … I’ve seen him several times now. And finally, because of the weird primary system we have, with the caucuses and such.

      I was polled on this exact matchup a couple weeks ago. I’m guessing by Bennet, but could have been DSCC, national labor, or a variety of others. IF this story is what it appears to be (see below) Romanoff clearly has some interesting polling results. Wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

      All that said, I suspect this is just a case of an operative trying to seem important and “floating” the idea to see how people — especially on this site — react. The decision in that case is probably far from made.

      If it does become a primary, this becomes a pretty close analogy to Polis-FitzGerald, with Bennet in the Polis seat. We all know how that turned out. But it was very very close.  

      • Raphael says:

        Polis/Fitz Gerald was a primary race with no consequential general election that would follow. A Romanoff/Bennet primary would have serious general election ramifications. All electoral races are in a sense a race for the middle (known in political science as the race of for the median voter). In a primary that voter will be further left on an ideological spectrum than it will be in a general election. By forcing Bennet or Romanoff to appeal to that left median voter they compromise their ability to claim the general election median voter, and thus their chances of success in the general.

        All these comparisons with Obama/Clinton and Polis/Fitz-Gerald are crap. Both were races on completely different levels. Apples to oranges as it were.

        Ideas that a Bennet/Romanoff primary would be somehow “enlightening” or serve the public interest, I think, are bullshit as well. It will absolutely turn personal and negative (since as RSB has already noted, there are virtually no policy differences between the two of them), and the only media light on them will fuel Republican talking points in the general. With no substantial way of differentiating between candidates we are left with superficial ways of doing so, which is unhelpful to the effort to elect Democratic candidates.

        I challenge anyone to produce numbers that support the claim that Romanoff has (current) name ID higher than Bennet’s, and/or higher favorables that would thus support some claim to electability.

        Rachel Maddow can engage in all of the shallow labeling that she wants to, but that does not and should not affect the opinion of most Coloradoans. A primary challenge by Romanoff right now is strategically stupid and pragmatically ridiculous.

        I cannot conceive of valid reasons for this action.  

        • Gilpin GuyGilpin Guy says:

          The elites have chosen our candidate so we need to meekly submit to their overwhelming superiority and accept whoever they decide is best.

          Your arguments are so anti-democratic that they are vomit in a bag.  Politics is about more than getting elected dude.  It is about promoting ideas and solutions that will move this country forward and to say that Democrats have to concede their ideas to get elected is complete bullshit.

          Clinton and Obama proved that you can have a hotly contested primary and then come together to win the general.  Good ideas along with good people succeed.  Your posts reek of fear of upsetting the political elites.

          • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

            …I agree. We are a democracy and as such we should welcome primaries as a healthy part of the process. It’s the lack of competitive primaries that gives us mediocre back-benchers like Udall.

          • Lafayettedem says:

            I think before Romanoff makes the leap into the race, he has to show (or decide) that he has substantive policy differences with Bennet.  If he is just running out of spite or because he feels he is entitled to the seat, he should not run.  That being said, it is a Democracy and he has the right to run if he chooses, but I think in order to garner the support of a critical mass of people, it has to be a conversation about ideas instead of a question of personality and name recognition.  All of course is IMHO.

  3. Walter Mitty says:

    Ritter had the option of appointing Romanoff to Senate, but didn’t.  Why not?

  4. robertbq says:

    Regardless of the GOP field (including Norton or not), Bennet or any Democrat for that matter will have a tough go at it next year. Bennet will end up pulling it out, I believe, but it is not a given. Romanoff WILL hold high Colorado office someday soon, but this is not his year and not his race on which to pull the trigger.

    Bennet has put in a lot of time to introduce himself across the state and for Romanoff to believe that all Dems will suddenly switch sides is naive and would be an incredible mistake for the party (not to mention Romanoff himself).  

    • Libertad says:

      … at least that’s what his supporters will say and I guess he has the name ID to prove it.

    • twas brillig says:

      This

      Bennet has put in a lot of time to introduce himself across the state and for Romanoff to believe that all Dems will suddenly switch sides is naive and would be an incredible mistake for the party (not to mention Romanoff himself).  

      reminded me of this post from March. Bennet for Senate was getting their ducks in a row long before this thing got run up the flagpole. Included is an awkwardly long list of the speaker’s former colleagues.  

  5. redstateblues says:

    And why Bennet and not Ritter? This seems totally counter-productive to me at this point.

    And I would like to hear people who are mad at Bennet for not being to the left enough (that’s the only reason I could see people voting for Romanoff over him) justify voting for a guy whose middle name was bi-partisanship as Speaker of the House. I mean, I might vote for Romanoff if he ran, but it’s not because I think he would be less business-friendly or less friendly with Conservadems and Republicans in the US Senate.

    The only possible reason I could think that he would do this would be some sort of polling that puts him way ahead of Bennet, or at the very least, the Republican field including Jane Norton. If, on the other hand, Romanoff has decided to go after the stronger of the two fairly weak Democrats running for statewide office next year, knowing doing so might guarantee Republican victory next year, then I might never be able to forgive him.

    I probably could have understood Ritter, purely from a leadership standpoint, but Bennet? It makes no sense.

    I sincerely hope this is just a rumor, and doesn’t turn into a reality.

    • harrydobyharrydoby says:

      If Romanoff wants to challenge anyone, it should be Ritter.  Ideologically, I don’t see enough daylight between Bennet and Romanoff.  Bennet is turning into an impressive Senator.

      The issue is leadership — Andrew has the proven track record.  Ritter is most vulnerable on that point.  If Andrew chooses to run, which I have difficulty believing at all, then please make it the Governor’s race.

    • Smotus says:

      Ritter actually has a base within the party.  There are people who volunteered for him and donated to him and gave up chunks of their lives to put him in office in ’06.  He’s alienated some of those folks, but not nearly all of them.  You take on Ritter, you really do split the party.

      Bennet has earned a great deal of respect but not much love or labor, at least not yet.  It’s less costly to take him on in terms of damage to the party and to Romanoff’s own reputation.

      • redstateblues says:

        it comes from the middle. Hence his actions on nearly every major issue last year.

        Party activists don’t like him–though they admittedly don’t like Bennet too much either–labor doesn’t like him, and for good reason.

        If there is such a groundswell of support, then why does he have a 60% approval rating from within his own party? That, along with the fact that Scott McInnis is ahead of him in head to head matchups, is enough to necessitate a Democratic primary. Bennet on the other hand has slowly ingratiated himself with some of his critics–not all, but some.

        I think that any primary does damage, but the reason this one does so much damage is because of the possibility that Romanoff won’t beat Bennet. Bennet will have the support of the President, the DNC, and the DSCC. If Romanoff can’t pull out the victory, then all the dirt he dishes at Bennet will be fodder for Republicans, and a divided party will move forward in November with a great deal of unenthusiastic Dems who may choose to sit home because “their guy” lost.

        Hence, Romanoff may be ensuring a Republican victory at all levels in this state. I don’t know if the Dems can lose control of the GA, but without the Governor’s mansion, this state will slide into chaos. There is a very real possibility of both major statewide races turning R because of one man’s decision.

        Plus, how would Romanoff be any different than Bennet as a Senator? If there’s not a huge policy difference, I can’t really be persuaded that a primary is a great idea because Andrew Romanoff is pretty and has lots of admirers.

        • twas brillig says:

          This may be one particular instance, but I thought the standing ovations he received at the Larimer County Democratic picnic belied a lot of the recent chatter.  

        • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

          I think it will be like Miles vs Salazar where Romanoff will get top spot on the ballot, Bennet will win the primary, and the race will be one where we learn more about each candidate, but don’t see them damaged much.

          I robust primary actually helps – it keeps the spotlight on our candidates and voters learn more about them. Otherwise the summer belongs to the GOP and come September on the Dem side we are just getting started.

          • redstateblues says:

            But now it’s just stupid. Bennet now has to waste money fighting off Romanoff, and he was going to need every single dollar for TV advertising.

            But, more to your point, how was the Miles/Salazar primary not damaging? It left all the progressives who were supporting Miles with a bad taste in their mouths, and many of them are still bitter about it. They saw the intervention by the national Democratic establishment as a slap in the face, and it made it all the more obvious that they were barking up the wrong tree when Salazar won by 30 points in the primary–they were embarrassed, and they didn’t like looking like idiots for supporting the “wrong” candidate.

            As far as a primary spotlighting Dems, I don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing. Look at the GOP gubernatorial primary in ’06: Holtzman and Beauprez tried to out-conservative each other and it gave Bill Ritter (who got the nomination without a primary) look much more sane by comparison. Not having a “robust” primary between Hick and Ritter in ’06 probably made Democratic victory that year even more of a certainty. It will help Bennet’s campaign chops and name ID, no doubt, but will it make voters like them more, or less? I guess we’ll find out.

            • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

              Yes it was demotivating for the left that Salazar won by 30 points. But that’s in the category of tough love/truth hurts. It was something we all needed to learn.

              And from that we realized that a Ritter or Salazar is who we need to nominate for state-wide positions. Some of us would prefer someone more liberal – but the majority likes the moderates.

              And Salazar came out of that to kick Coors’ butt in a year that went Republican almost everywhere else.

              • redstateblues says:

                had policy positions that were different from Ken Salazar’s. It made sense for progressives then to support Miles because of that reason.

                If they support Romanoff now, then it won’t be because of his record. Unless Romanoff backs off from his usual positions, and re-writes himself as a more progressive Democrat on economic issues, then they will have to choose between an apple and an apple.

        • RockyMtnModerate says:

          As I’ve posted, I think this would have been much different had Andrew jumped in six months ago before many people knew Bennet, but I wouldn’t over estimate how much support the White House & DSCC will throw behind Bennet. Not because they like or dislike Bennet but for two other reasons.

          First, I would not expect this to be a particularly nasty primary. Andrew has never had to “go for the throat” in any of his races or his statewide efforts and it really isn’t his style. I’d expect him to try to make it mostly about what he has done for CO, what he would do as Senator and where he & Bennet differ (which I’m waiting to hear). From Bennet’s side, the RBI crew might want to go for Andrew’s head and after the debacle of SAFE I don’t think there is a lot of love lost between them BUT it could be a huge mistake for Bennet to go after the Dem’s Golden Boy Romanoff. Rumor & inuendo may swirl but I wouldn’t expect this primary to look anything like the Perlmutter v Lamm or Polis v Fitzgerald.

          The other reason I don’t think there will be much active support of Bennet out of the WH or DSCC in a primary is that their bigger concern is holding all seats in Dem control in CO. That being the case, they’re likely to be more interested in who can motivate, activate and turn-out voters. Andrew can certainly motivate the base. Whether Bennet can develop passionate supporters who will walk, call and be active is yet to be seen. Nobody in the WH, DNC or DSCC wants a bloody primary that hurts the party overall but beyond that their goals are bigger than any one person.

          My biggest question for Andrew would be why he has waited so long to jump in. Was there some strategy behind it or is this because he’s spent months waiting for something else to materialize and finally came to terms that THIS is what he wants and if he doesn’t go for it now, he’s waiting 14-16yrs?

          • redstateblues says:

            You underestimate the WH’s relationship with Bennet. Ritter didn’t pick Bennet out of nowhere, and the then-office of the President-elect definitely gave the green light for Ritter to pick him back in December.

            You may be right though, that this primary won’t get ugly, but I’m yet to be convinced of that. If Romanoff wants the seat badly enough to throw his hat in the ring half a year after it would have been beneficial for him to do so, then he might not run as clean of a campaign as you might think he would. Plus, Bennet has a lot of loathers on the left who may not be officially associated with the Romanoff campaign, but will do everything in their power to smear Bennet.

            Your points also go to support my point that this will negatively affect Ritter as well. One of the biggest decisions Ritter made in his first term was appointing Bennet, and if Romanoff is saying Bennet isn’t the best Senator for Colorado, what does that say about the Governor?

          • harrydobyharrydoby says:

            A few possible reasons that I can think of:

            1.  Allows time to take the measure of Bennet — sharpening the potential contrasts in vision

            2.  A shorter campaign lessens the potential for bloodletting and/or volunteer burnout

            3.  A protracted primary campaign would drain a lot of the potential funds from the donor pool

            4.  To jump in immediately after “losing” the appointment would have made the focus of his running all about personal pique, not issues and/or honest differences in vision

            • redstateblues says:

              Already drained most of the potential funds from the donor pool–to Bennet.

              • J-Rock says:

                Ultimately, I think that if he had declared right away it would have looked spiteful and personally motivated.  This looks like he has thought about it and he still believes that there is something he can bring that Bennet can’t (I think there is – he is truly a Coloradoan and understands Colorado voters in the cities, suburbs, plains, and mountains).

                Number two is an ancillary benefit that I doubt he was considering.

                And as for money, most big donors give to both primary candidates regularly, there is nothing stopping them from doing so.  I think that Romanoff has enough of a base out there to get some money.  I also think he is more willing and able to put in the ground time traveling repeatedly around the state in a way that Bennet isn’t.  This kind of campaigning is a great and powerful substitute when money is scarce.

              • harrydobyharrydoby says:

                Thus my surprise that Romanoff is actually going ahead.

                Must be more money out there than we realized.  And I think it will be more expensive for Bennet since he’s the one with lower (at least for now) name recognition.

                But the primary campaign is less about TV and more about firing up the base, and GOTV.  Romanoff will be very strong in those areas.

                So again, this is more likely to be very expensive for Bennet.  

                Whoever wins the primary will need a massive amount of money for the general campaign.  Money sorely needed for other candidates in and out of Colorado.

          • twas brillig says:

            Serious money has already been invested into Bennet’s campaign, and the national leadership isn’t going to walk away from the guy because they want to see who can get the most cheers on the rubber chicken circuit. First, Bennet has a great relationship with the president and the White House. Second, there is no way the DSCC is going to throw an incumbent under the bus when he is doing such a great job simply because a primary challenger pops up.

            The White House has already intervened in NY after the Gillibrand appointment to try and clear the primary field–successfully I might add. I don’t think Sestak is easily frightened off, but similar commitments were made to Specter in PA when he switched parties. This White House has no problem stepping up to the plate when it makes sense.  

        • BoulderDem says:

          A lot of the Dem base still likes Ritter. Enviros, for instance, and Latinos. I think you have your head buried way too deep in Labor politics.

        • wade norris says:

          with Romanoff’s decision or not, the people of Colorado voiced much opposition with Bennett and a lot of support for Romanoff.

          Challenging Ritter who is a sitting incumbent is tougher to do.

          Although I am too busy to really get involved, it is quite easy for me to imagine attack ads vs. Bennet that would be very effective with Primary voters.

          and also,

          Romanoff has NAME ID I would guess ten fold over Bennet.

          All of this said, I have respect for Bennet, but this is just another indictment of Ritter’s mis steps with his key party supporters – Latino, Labor, and Progressives.

          • redstateblues says:

            I think Colorado has started to get used to the idea of Sen. Bennet.

            The fact that they have basically the same policy positions makes it all the more ludicrous.

          • Lafayettedem says:

            I think that many folks here are overestimating name ID.  I don’t think that is as relevant in a primary, b/c primary voters tend to be information seekers and not people showing up at the polls and deciding who to vote for based on who had the biggest sigh on their way their.  Lastly, I am not sure that nearly all regular primary voters know who both Romanoff and Bennet are.  

      • paulrosenthal says:

        He’s going after the job he wants, not the job we want him to have.

        • harrydobyharrydoby says:

          This is a democracy afterall.  Unlike the RNSC or “klink-maker” Dick Wadhams clearing the field for the annointed candidate, Andrew has the stature to run for this office (and win) and I doubt the Democratic Party leadership will try to deny him the chance to prove it.

          At the very least this will give Bennet the political campaigning tune-up he needs.  It’ll be a campaign between “Better and Best”.  Both men are ambitious (remember, Bennet wasn’t exactly drafted for this position), so Andrew is obviously thinking that he should pursue his own goal of serving his state now – not 4,6 or 12 years from now.

          As David suggests, this should not become a race to the gutter by either candidate.  I hope the respective set of supporters will likewise refrain from bitter personal attacks.  It should serve as a model for the campaign style we want, not the Republican SOP of the politics of personal destruction.

          Personally, I’m torn, and am eager to hear each candidate’s views.  But I believe the best man will win whatever the outcome.

          • RedGreenRedGreen says:

            Keep in mind, even if both the Bennet and Romanoff campaigns take the high road (which I doubt will happen if it really does stretch out to next August and is at all close), the Republican candidate and NRSC will have an entire year to to run against both of them using their familiar tactics. Every criticism Bennet or Romanoff levels against the other will be amplified and distorted until voters are convinced they’re attacking each other without gloves. It might strengthen the eventual nominee. It might.

            • J-Rock says:

              an extended Obama- Hillary primary, and we see how true that turned out to be.  

              The senate race (apparently it’s “Not Gale” Norton for senate) is going to be pathetic.  Norton is a joke and nobody even knows who she is.  A primary will give voters more options and a better chance to express their desires.

              • RedGreenRedGreen says:

                against a primary, it’s just an observation that things can get nasty even if both Democrats try to keep it clean.

                • harrydobyharrydoby says:

                  But given the repeated failures of the GOP “distort and fabricate” tactics in the last couple of state campaigns, that strategy will have limited impact.

                  The ‘pubs can’t seem to help themselves from partaking in the excesses of outrageously ridiculous spin.  I believe fewer and fewer voters are buying it anymore.  And as long as the state GOP only offers up right-wing candidates, the Dems should have a bit of a headstart in every race.

                  I think we’ll learn a lesson or two in the next few months during the healthcare campaign.  If substance and vision triumphs over FUD and hypocracy, we could not only get a pretty decent bill, but both Bennet and Romanoff could use it to distinguish themselves to the voters in a positive light.  

          • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

            This will make both of them better campaigners. This could well end up helping Bennet a lot in the general (although I doubt he is looking at it that way right now).

  6. RockyMtnModerate says:

    Would seem to have made a lot more sense 6 months ago before more people got comfortable with Bennet and before Bennet put away the kind of fundraising he has. If Andrew wants to primary somebody, I would think that Ritter would be a lot more vulnerable and have more groups willing to back a challenge. Not saying either is a good idea, but if he’s determined to run for something next year, this choice and timing is strange. Maybe it’s a trial balloon to see reaction.

    Hey Pols & Polsters – anybody hearing anything of who his team is going to be? RBI is out, Kenney is out and anybody affiliated with Bennet, Udall or Ritter won’t wade into this.  

  7. meandmyuncle says:

    Once again, it shows that Andrew has very little political acumen.  There is very little to distinguish him from Bennet.  Ritter would have provided a substantial foil with labor issues and other concerns.  There is almost no reason to support him over Bennet, except for personal preference.  We all know he would rather be a legislator than executive, but you have to look at the politics of a situation, and once again he falls far short.  He has amazing ideas and is very book smart, but lacks the first sense of political judgment.  

    • BoulderDem says:

      you’re calling one of these two guys “book smart and politically stupid” … and it’s ROMANOFF? That’s just bizarre. Much as I admire Michael Bennet, even I have to admit that description fits him to a T.

  8. silverandblue says:

    About time a real Democrat steps up to challenge Bennet. Bennet is a sure loser in November 2010 without a challenge. If, and a big if, Bennet can beat Andrew he my get the street cred he needs to win the general. Let the race begin.

  9. DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

    Besides his having told me he has no interest in the career suicide this move might represent, it’s not right for where he is personally.  He’s dying to meet the future Mrs. Romanoff and start having kids.  Running for or being a Senator would force that to the way back burner, and he’s not that young that it can be put off that much longer.  He’s looking at other positions which would allow him to gain “executive experience” before a 2014 Governor’s run.  He’s pissed at Ritter for the snub, so he’d be the riper target, both for vengeance, and soft support among the base.  Either way is sure to piss people off if he loses (or even if he wins), and Andrew is not stupid.

  10. lanman2k says:

    Appointed senators who did not run: 7

    Appointed senators who lost their next election: 16 (7 lost in the primary and 9 lost in the general election)

    Appointed senators who won their next election: 15

    Source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/polit

    I think it is because we are true believers in our democracy and there is just something about someone getting appointed to a position that annoys us deep down.

  11. MADCO says:

    and Primary Flerlage.

    I’m not saying he’d have a chance against the R incumbent, but it would be a ton o’fun working on his campaign.   ANd there are loads of single women in CD6.

  12. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    And I pick Michael Bennet.

    I started off on the fence about Bennet. And his vote on cram-down had me very open to alternatives. But as Bennet has found his voice, and has started to take a clear position on issues, I’ve come to like him more and more.

    And now with his road show, how he handles the townhalls (yes I’m a sucker for politicians who talk to the voters), how he discusses – wow.

    Then add to that how he has framed his support of healthcare – how anyone who is a budget hawk must support fixing healthcare. It shows both an understanding of the core systemic issues we face and a superb ability to get that across to people.

    I’ll agree Andrew Romanoff did a great job as speaker, is a nice guy, and would make a good Senator. But there is nothing in that to say he would be better than Bennet. Or even as good.

    In a primary Michael Bennet has my full support.

    • Libertad says:

      Where are his positions … yes I’m not looking for crafty general statements.

    • DonkeyEars says:

      To me, it’s not about being forced to decide, but getting a chance to decide.

      The public input process that Ritter apparently ignored before the Bennet appointment was clearly not an adequate proxy for letting the Democratic party decide who its nominee will be now that Salazar has moved on. I’m an Andrew supporter — in part because of his incredible outreach around the state and town hall presence.  That said, I think a primary in 2010 would be fair regardless of who was appointed in the first place.

  13. dem83 says:

    I like Romanoff but he is being an idiot. First, Bennet has locked up all the money in Colorado. Second, he has won over the majority of the base with his strong stance on health care reform.

    And I don’t think he will win over any Latino vote. Romanoff pushed the special session several years ago on immigration reform that many latinos felt was an attack on them. Bad move.

    • Einstein's dreams says:

      and prevented them from being bigot/GOTV drivers for the Republican base.  Andrew outmaneuvered the Republicans big-time, and pulled the rug out from under them when he got then-Gov Owens to sign off on a deal.  The special session was nothing compared to putting Tancredo in front of a ballot campaign.

      Plus he speaks fluent Spanish.  

    • lanman2k says:

      And… A lot of his money came from out of state. I think the Post even did a story on the fact that he hasn’t really raised that much in Colorado.

  14. ….honestly, we’ll clean Bennet’s clock

    Romanoff??

    I am much more scared of Romanoff than Bennet

    Bennet has never ran

    More importantly, Romanoff has played a keyrole in organizing the Death Star that is CODA (Progress Now, Accountability For Colorado, Ethics Watch, etc)… that said, Romanoff has a MUCH BETTER understanding of statewide elections and modern campaigns in Colorado, possibly, better than anyone else

    In addition – why are you guys not getting behind Romanoff?? Without him, your majorities in this good state would potentially be nothing….. yes, Gill and Stryker brought the money, but Romanoff brought the foot work – what did Bennet bring? Ever?

    That said….. I’m still baffled that he (Romanoff) can call himself a liberal, being that laws against immigrants have become more severe under Romanoff’s watch and that gay marriage/civil unions never got legalized….. regardless, Romanoff is the best street fighter you guys have

    If you guys don’t support him in your primary, then we’re happy to take back the Senate seat… but I think everyone on this forum knows who the better and more deserving candidate is between Bennet and Romanoff

    (and btw – just so there’s no confusion that I’m encouraging a Democratic Primary to satisfy selfish reasons… I genuinely believe that Romanoff has done more for the Democratic Party and its activists than Bennet could ever dream of…. I’m just shocked that the biggest loyalists are opposed to him)

  15. Leonard Smalls says:

    Pols, you guys said something about Democrats “feeling good” about Norton or something to that effect. Do you guys think Romanoff’s decision is related to Norton? Are Democrats smelling blood over something?

  16. Ray SpringfieldRay Springfield says:

    Whatever he decides to do, I have respect for him.

  17. Laughing Boy says:

    An-DREW!  An-DREW!

  18. Dabee47 says:

    where’s Wade when you need him…  :P

  19. Aaron says:

    Has Bennet spoken up yet about his views on gay marriage? Last I heard, he’d completely deflected the question. Romanoff on the other hand has been pretty consistent with his support for LGBT Coloradans, no? I could be wrong about that.

    It’s not a lot, but as someone mentioned above, maybe a primary could force his hand on some of the more controversial issues.

    • One Queer Dude says:

         Romanoff did place Referendum “I” on the ballot, limited as it was.  He was also instrumental in getting hate crimes and the state ENDA enacted while he was Speaker.

        What has Bennet for the GLBT communities?  IMHO, he can start by co-sponsoring the bill repealing DOMA.

  20. sxp151 says:

    that Bennet was a dick on cramdown. Failure to pass it has meant genuine hardship for people.

    Yet he’s been pretty good on health care.

    So I’m torn. I know it seems silly to base anything on “the last thing he did” and forget the rest, but honestly I’m gullible enough to just go for the latest Bennet persona.

    Wouldn’t take much to convince me otherwise though.

    • J-Rock says:

      Shows that a primary could be really good.  It may seem weird and too late right now, but in three months time we’ll all forget that and will be immersed in a Romanoff-Bennet primary.  There we will hash out the good and bad of each candidate. Not here, not tonight, not this weekend.  

  21. J-Rock says:

    At least that way we’ll get some sort of contested election in 2010.  With the way the Republican field is shaping up, this race will be over by August.  

    As far as Andrew v Bennet, Andrew has done so much more for the state than Bennet.  Bennet is smart, talented, and speaks clearly on policy issues; however, Andrew is the reason for long and continued Dem success in Colorado.  If a primary heats up, I think Andrew will have a lot more people lining up for him than Bennet.  Primary voters and party loyalists will remember Andrew’s work in the house, on Ref C and on myriad other issues.  Given a choice, I bet a lot of people choose Andrew.  He understands the needs of Coloradoans better than anyone.  Not given a choice, Bennet is still a fine politician and Coloradoans are lucky to have him.  

  22. PolitianWatch says:

    He has too much money from big business and I think in the end he will sell us short in favor of the special interests that are filling his campaign coffers. Personally I like Romanoff and wished he would run against Bill Ritter as Bennett has been appearing Democratic lately and seemed to have smoothed over some early mistakes.

    A good friend who is a state legislator told me a while back that Bill Ritter would name Romanoff for the Senate seat. Everyone I know expected Ritter to name Romanoff but Bill Ritter let us down again. Bill Ritter can’t be trusted.  I would support Romanoff over Bennett.

  23. d davies denver says:

    If this is true I hope Andrew will rethink this decision.  I know both Bennet and Romanoff though I know Andrew much better.  Like most of you I have always known Andrew to be a class act.  He has been a model public servant – he is also as politically savvy as they come (usually).  

    This move does not make any sense for all the reasons already listed.  It’s too late, Bennet has not proven to a disappointment on outreach, policy or fundraising and by all appearances is getting stronger every day.  Frankly, there aint much difference between them.  Remind me – which one is the young, earnest, hard working good looking, moderate policy wonk again?  (though I have to give he witty, funny edge to Andrew).  In a nutshell, if he was going to do this it needed to be a long time ago.

    I don’t particularly worry about a primary because they are both excellent choices and match up well against the opposition.  The biggest reason I don’t want Andrew to do this is that if he loses he is toast politically.  One asset Andrew has is deep sympathy across our team and he cashes that in if he does this.  If he makes this decision it is coming from emotion not reason or judgment.  We happen to have a deep bench right now but things do change and we need Andrew for the future.  I do think we need to find a way to keep his name recognition and profile out there but this is not the way to do it.  

    • Middle of the Road says:

      There area ton of people in this state who have no idea who he is and pay very little attention to statewide politics. The people of Andrew’s district know him quite well, the party faithful love him and once he introduces himself to folks, he creates a lasting memory. :)

      That said, I’d like to see some polling numbers on his name recognition with voters.

      A primary, even if he ultimately loses, could be a fantastic way for him to introduce himself to a wider audience and let them know about his many accomplishments in the House. Might be a great jumping off point for him to run for another office in 2 or 4 years, perhaps governor in 2014.  

  24. Middle of the Road says:

    And this appears to be bad timing. If this had occurred six months ago, right out of the gate, Bennet would have been in a world of trouble. But I fear if Romanoff does mount a challenge, he’s in too late. I like both of these men and would have preferred Andrew get the nod for Salazar’s seat but Bennet has proven to be a fundraising machine, has done some pretty impressive outreach to voters and to the party faithful and most importantly, seems to be working overtime to educate himself on the issues (unlike the Republican Senator who the other day said he’s going to vote against HCR but isn’t going to bother to read a single page of the bill.)

    If Dems have a primary, so be it. But I personally think it’s a bit too late in the game to mount a challenge.

    • BlueCat says:

      The timing would seem too late since Bennet is so firmly entrenched with big Dem money.

      On the other hand, hard to believe Romanoff would be contemplating and leaking this move without something solid.  If he doesn’t have some rock hard promises of a ton of money and high level support from important people in the Colorado Dem party and among the 527s, this makes no sense.  

      Romanoff isn’t Mike Miles, after all.  He’s an experienced pol who knows his way around the block and it’s hard to see him naively tilting at any windmills.  Makes me wonder what he’s really up to..

      • harrydobyharrydoby says:

        Andrew is passionate about wanting to do this job, so if he really does run (and I now believe he will), he’s in it to win.  He’s certainly not a spoiler nor a dilettante.

        As far as the money goes, while Bennet has broad support, that was a show of force by the party to scare off the Republicans as much as anything. Granted though, Bennet does have an impressive Rolodex from his previous life.

        But Romanoff and/or his advisors must feel the depth of support for Bennet hasn’t really had time to gel.  I actually believe the 9 month cooling off period was important.  That’s why I was such a vociferous opponent of Wade’s “Draft Romanoff” campaign earlier this year.

        No question, Andrew has very, very deep support.  As noted above, the truly big money can and will give to both campaigns.

        In a caucus primary, passionate feet on the street will matter. I have to give Andrew the edge there too.

        Policy-wise, they’re both PayGo supporters so it really boils down to which one will come up with the most creative but fair ways to fund the programs critical to the future of Coloradoans, and as a Senator, the nation.

        So the real question for me is:  

        After carefully observing Bennet for the past 9 months, how would Romanoff differ from Bennet?  Proven Leadership, Passion, Experience?  I think both men have that in spades, just in different career tracks.

        I respect both men, and hope they take the Republican candidate (whomever she happens to be ;-) to school on how to win an election by being truthful, sincere, realistic and with the compassion needed to set our priorities in the order that will do the most good with the limited resources we are left with after the excesses of the Bush years.

        • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

          When voters look at it like you do (and most will), they go with the incumbent. And people can bitch all they want about Bennet not having been elected yet – most people will see him as the incumbent.

          • harrydobyharrydoby says:

            … but I’m not sure I buy the incumbent advantage in this situation.  In many ways, to party regulars (caucus voters), Andrew is the incumbent for this position.

            If/when he announces, he’ll need a strong message right out of the gate. Failing that, it’ll be a short primary challenge.  

            Both these guys are brilliant, compassionate and quite capable of doing a terrific job.

            As I said earlier, I’m torn.

  25. madmike says:

    With his experience as speaker, Romanoff has the “street cred” to talk in depth about state issues.  He’s a progressive, but has the respect of Republicans.  He’d be an outstanding governor who could make the leap to the Senate later on.

    Bennet hasn’t proved anything to me.  In Saturday’s post he is quoted as saying about heathcare, “I think it’s very unlikely that the public option part will pass.”  Where’s the leadership in that statement?  He could have gone on to say that when push comes to shove on the public option, don’t count on him to be in the fight.

    Unless Bennet proves himself this fall to be a real fighter for working people(which I highly doubt)and not just a tool to big corporate interests, he won’t have my support come primary time.  I have a feeling I won’t be alone.

    • The realistThe realist says:

      “Bennet hasn’t proved anything to me.  In Saturday’s post he is quoted as saying about heathcare, “I think it’s very unlikely that the public option part will pass.”  Where’s the leadership in that statement?”

      I attended the Pueblo Bennet meeting, and I came away with the same question – will he LEAD on the issue of health care reform?  We don’t just need someone who grasps the budget and health care issues – we need leadership, or reform will not happen.

      • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

        Bennet strikes me as one who works hard to make things happen rather than grandstanding with simple statements. A Senator who says “public option or death” is not going to be as effective talking to those truly on the fence.

        • The realistThe realist says:

          as to whether they supported health care reform, opposed it, or were on the fence.  Three different colors of cards, you picked the card color that matched your views and wrote your name on it – they selected questioners alternating among the three groups.  

          So, would have been interesting if a poll had been conducted pre- and post-meeting.  How many reform opponents and how many fence-sitters had their minds changed by Bennet yesterday?  I don’t know the answer – my gut says few or none changed their minds.

  26. d davies denver says:

    But why burn the political capital on such a high risk venture?  A loss or God forbid a blood bath will cause significant harm to his future chances.

    Maybe the answer (and I’m only half-kidding) is to name Andrew the new Director of Higher Education and keep him in the mix that way.  That’s a brutal job and needs a high profile “big dog” with a deft negotiator’s hand.

    I doubt he would take it – but I’ll keep thinking. . .  

  27. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    Ok, so does anyone have a worse impression about JFG due to that race? Her campaign (and she is ultimately responsible for that) ignored the web and that lost her the race. But aside from that?

    JP, JFG, & WS ran a robust primary but they did not drop it into the gutter and I think all of them came out of it well (including Will Shafroth who I think will run again in the future for some seat – and win).

    This is not the sky is falling for anyone. They will both come out of it with wide & positive name ID. Bennet will go on to win in November. And Romanoff can use this as prep for the Gov race in 4 years.

    • BlueCat says:

      Your theory makes more sense than Romanoff thinking he can win the primary, things being what they are.  And he did  campaign hard for Ritter so he would have a hard time running against him now, instead of four years from now, without having to explain why he was so wrong to promote him in the first place. He might even run for a while for reasons you note and then graciously get out of Bennet’s way.

      • wade norris says:

        look at Romanoff’s name ID vs. Bennet with primary voters.

        All other points are moot when you look at this dynamic.

        Dem primary voters love Romanoff, and most don’t know Bennet – money or no money.

        If Romanoff is getting in, he is getting in to win.

        • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

          But my guess is he also looks at the odds and sees an advantage even if he loses.

          As to knowing Bennet vs Romanoff – politically active people are the only ones who know Romanoff, and they tend to know Bennet too. Keep in mind that the primary is the most active voters, but that includes a large chunk that actually pay very little attention to politics.

          And Bennet has a year to be front and center because he’s a sitting Senator. He gets a lot more coverage then Romanoff. Most people also tend to vote pass/fail on an incumbent and I think Bennet will easily get a pass from most.

          • wade norris says:

            for being called a “conservadem” by Rachel Maddow.

            Romanoff is the guy done wrong by the unpopular governor.

            That sentiment will play to his favor among the base.

            • Chef says:

              only if he exploits it early on and sets the theme, Wade. If he sits on his laurels as he’s been doing so far, it won’t go. He has to land big and hard, theme and messaging in solid rotation, offices, boots on the ground.  

          • BlueCat says:

            that Romanoff is in to win.  I don’t see how he thinks he can overcome Bennet’s increasing advantage. Littwin may well have the most plausible take in his column in the the Sunday Post.  After pointing out that Romanoff can hardly come at Bennet as an insurgent from the left because that’s not who Romanoff is or ever has been and that, in fact, they’re pretty similar in relation to centrism he goes on to say :

            So, why exactly is Romanoff running?

            What’s the burning issue he brings to the race? Why is he willing to put at risk the Democratic momentum in Colorado – the same momentum he had helped create as Colorado House speaker?

            Is being funnier – and Romanoff does, clearly, tell a better joke than Bennet – a good enough reason to send him to the fun house that is the U.S. Senate?

            Those are the questions making the rounds in Democratic politics from Wash Park to Washington.

            When Romanoff announces, he’ll undoubtedly answer the questions this way: Bennet has gotten only one vote so far – the one from Gov. Bill Ritter when he appointed Bennet to succeed Ken Salazar – and that, in a democracy, the people of Colorado deserve a true choice.

            But when I talk to Democrats – many of them Romanoff’s friends – they basically answer for Romanoff this way: If you want the honest truth, I was snubbed by my (former) BFF, the governor, I can’t get past it, and so I come to you, the Colorado voters, because I don’t have anything better to do on a Saturday night than sit in my room and read every last sub-clause of HR 3200.

            They say that Romanoff, who thought very hard about running for governor four years ago, is using this primary to basically appeal Ritter’s decision. You – or at least those of you who vote in the Democratic primary – get to be the jury.

            If Littwin’s take is on target, can’t help thinking that Romanoff is tilting at windmills after all.  

            • redstateblues says:

              Is the “it’s good for Democracy” meme. I don’t doubt that Romanoff could get some populist support from saying that Bennet is a Senator, but didn’t get one vote. But, for me anyway, there needs to be more.

              BTW, I agree that Littwin’s article was great.

            • Middle of the Road says:

              Thanks for posting that, Blue.

            • Chef says:

              He waited long enough to get in it and isn’t doing much to announce effectively or start a machine already, so you have to wonder where his heart (or head) really is. He must’ve known this talk would be circulating and he’s nothing to clarify or prevent it, so it’s already on a slide if you ask moi. Romanoff doesn’t have the spine to run against Ritter and thinks Bennet will be easier prey. He may be right, but he’s already showing cracks in deployment.  

    • that was a pretty classy primary, overall

  28. richardmyers says:

    If Bennet is improving, i haven’t noticed. Certainly health care is a vital issue to working people, but labor is also focused on EFCA. And where has Bennet come down on EFCA? Last i heard (from his own lips), he was sitting astride the fence, refusing to step down on either side.

    Labor would like to teach Ritter a lesson. But no one is stepping forward to primary Ritter, so what are the chances that labor would savor teaching a lesson by proxy?

    I’ve always been luke-warm about Romanoff, but if he challenged Bennet or Ritter, i’d break out my precinct-walking shoes. I’d register as a Democrat if it meant the chance to vote against either Bennet or Ritter in a primary/caucus. My reason is simple: neither of them really supports workers like myself (three plus decades in a factory).  

    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

      If you think it is, give Joan Fitz-Gerald a call.

      It matters, bot for the votes and it tends to align with progressive candidates. But having the leadership support one candidate over another does not swing that many votes.

      • richardmyers says:

        in some races. I’ve walked precincts for union-supported candidates and union causes, and i know that such efforts can make a difference.

        That said, consider where we’ve come from. In 1950, one out of three American workers belonged to a union. The middle class was ascendant, and the CIO offered a significant alternative to the craft unionism of the AFL.

        Then Taft-Hartley legislation began to bite, and the playing field tipped in favor of conservative business unionism. The more militant tactics of the CIO (secondary boycotts, sympathy strikes) were criminalized, and the CIO ceased to exist as a separate viable force. With the refinement of corporate union busting techniques over the last couple of decades, fewer than one in twelve American workers now belongs to a union.

        There are a number of reasons that workers find it more of a challenge to join a union today. One of them is political leaders elected with labor’s support, who seem to forget that support when they get into office. More recent labor legislation such as LMRDA was supposed to be even-handed, applying to union and corporation alike. The corporations have found it easy to evade important LMRDA provisions, and politicians haven’t fixed the problem. LMRDA helps to keep unions in check (and, admittedly, honest), but it has failed to fulfill its intended oversight role over corporations that hire union-busting consultants.

        The Clinton Administration passed down an executive order to fix LMRDA oversight over union busters in its last two weeks in office; the Bush Administration promptly overturned it.

        Why didn’t Clinton act sooner? Politics, of course. The Clinton White House didn’t want to upset its corporate patrons. As recently as 2004, corporations donated 25 times the amount that unions donated in campaign contributions. This is not a level playing field for labor.

        And with so few workers in unions, i guess it is no surprise that some conclude, union support is not that big a deal.

        • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

          Reduced union membership is due to a changing world where the unions did not keep up. I work in the high-tech world and I have never heard anyone there wish we had a union.

          I think the main reason why is that in manufacturing, construction, etc. your most productive employee is about twice as efficient as your least. So everyone treated and paid the same works. But in a lot of businesses today (software, engineering, etc) your most productive employee is 10 – 100 times more productive.

          Now in Hollywood the unions figured that out. They represent Stephen Spielberg as well as someone directing their first TV episode. But they set it up in a way that handled that 100X difference in value of each person.

        • Chef says:

          Reagan broke the back of the unions, dude, and they’ve never even begun to recover yet. The unions can’t even agree on who’s in charge of what yet or what they’re supposed to be doing, so how can they be effective in anything? They’re a joke and that’s why Ritter can flip them off and they can’t do anything about it. Sad, but true. Who’s in charge of anything in the unions, who has what territory? Nobody knows jack, so it’s a burnt offering.  

      • PolitianWatch says:

        You’re still living in the past and you don’t realize that things have changed. Americans realize what corporations have done to this country and it isn’t pretty.  Romanoff will win the primary and he will be elected.  

  29. Aaron says:

    Nate Silver seems to favor the idea…

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com

  30. PolitianWatch says:

    As soon as I can I’ll send a donation to Andrew Romanoff.

    • BlueCat says:

      He was asked by Chris Matthews last week who might at least in part take Kennedy’s place as the across the aisle negotiator in the Senate and imagine my surprise when the new and rather obscure name of Bennet popped out.   Willie Brown knows all about and is a big fan of Bennet’s?  Who else is? We know Obama is, for one. I wouldn’t be placing any big bets on Romanoff. And I really wanted it to be Romanoff.

      • Chef says:

        Well, it wasn’t brilliant to waste so much time and enthusiasm sitting around playing poker with wanna-bes.He can still get it done, but he’ll have to do more than passive-aggressive leaking and acting coy. It will take a ground game and organization the likes of which nobody  around here has seen in a long time.  

    • silverandblue says:

      Much more California support for Bennet and it will be Romanoff in a walk.  

      • redstateblues says:

        Do you think anyone in California has any idea who Andrew Romanoff is? Michael Bennet has been a senator for less than a year and he’s already gotten notoriety among national political figures.

        Seriously, try again.

        • wade norris says:

          but you sound paid for.

          if you aren’t then i apologize.

          if you are….

          • redstateblues says:

            The fact that you know who I am should be enough to know that that’s not true. But the fact that you do, and you still said that, it really makes me mad.

            I have not, am not now, nor will I ever, be “paid for”. So you can take your stupid bullshit that everyone who opposes Romanoff getting in this race is a sock puppet or a fucking bought and paid shill, and shove it up your sanctimonious ass Wade.

            Apology not accepted. You are a sorry, sad person if you think that, and I think you owe me a little more than a tongue in cheek apology now. Until I hear it, you can expect a much more hostile tone from me when you write about this subject.

            • wade norris says:

              i do apologize to you – because I do know you.

              but no one else does – and people reading these blogs are reading some sock puppetry going on here. (not from you but from others)

              To all reading

              RSB is not a shill and my point is not about his post – it is the meme of ‘don’t rock the boat’ that I am fighting.

              • redstateblues says:

                Do so in a way that is not calling into question my ethics or character. My opinions are my own, and only reflect how I feel about a particular issue. I argue my points vociferously, but that doesn’t mean I am not allowed to have them. I personally think Michael Bennet is a fine choice for Senator, and I disagree with Andrew Romanoff’s logic behind getting in this race. I don’t think that makes me “look” like anything, and I certainly don’t think the people who have read what I have to say in the last 13 months of me writing here question my motives.

                Just because I disagree with you, Wade Norris, shouldn’t mean I should have to end every post with “By the way, I am not a shill or a sock puppet”. You calling that into question, when it is totally unnecessary, is why I got so upset.

                I now accept your apology, but please do me a favor and don’t try to mislead casual readers into thinking that I’m something I’m not. I take pride in the fact that I have credibility among people here and in the political world for my opinions, and I will not sit idly by when someone, even someone I know and like in you Wade, calls that into question.

                Thank you for your apology, and making it 100% clear why it is I am posting what I’m posting on this topic.

              • twas brillig says:

                And your lame riposte that there’s “sock puppetry going on here” says more about your purity trolling and the crappy case you are trying to make than it does about long time posters on here you’ve managed to insult for refusing to drink your weak ass kool aid.

                • wade norris says:

                  here,

                  but beer.

                  and in case you didn’t notice, i have said many times that I am just reporting what I am hearing real people talk about.

                  If you read other’s statements on this site you’ll notice there are many people on board with A.R. getting in.

      • ArdentAdmirer2 says:

        Senator Bennet has tied up a lot of liberal money nationally.  

  31. oldbenkenobi says:

    Bennet has “earned” nothing and “deserves” nothing.  He has never been elected and too  many people in this thread want to hand him this seat on a silver-platter.  (As Ritter already did.)  The WH and the national money want us to bow for Bennet.  I’m an Obama fan but the WH does not get to decide who our Senators are.  Colorado voters decide.  Have a primary and may the best man win.

    On the Littwin article, I reject the idea that Romanoff has to prove he is worthy but Bennet does not.  Both do, in an election.  This should be treated as an open seat.  We may be deciding who represents us in the Senate for the next 30 years.

    • Chef says:

      Bennet was given his job as a gift from his “boy” Ritter for his previous favors. Nothing more. Who among us would be hired because the boss likes us and we can “learn on the job” what we’re supposed to be doing and play catch up rather than actually giving a dang or doing anything? If I was hired to make pastries and can’t bake, I’d be fired in a few hours at the best. Bennet was given a gift and anybody with a soul wants him gone.  

  32. Chef says:

    Time to really commit and show us what you might still have left of the whole “Great White Hope” thing. It can still be done if you’ve got a taste for a real throwdown.  

  33. The realistThe realist says:

    Much of the commentary here is contradictory — lots of criticism of primaries, and at the same time criticism of appointments to elective office without the helpful input (or ignoring the input) of the party faithful, and the bad blood that can result from how those appointments are made.  

    I say, let the process find its own path.  If there is to be a primary, it could well be a good step in the larger scheme of things.  

    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

      But you also have almost total support for the idea that if Romanoff wants to primary, then lets have it out and see who wins.

      Compare the to the GOP where they nominate people afraid to fight for the primary. And then they wonder why these hothouse orchids wilt in the heat of the general election battle.

  34. dem girl says:

    Don’t expect Romanoff to be a more liberal senator than Bennet.  He is very moderate and very cautious.  Ask any of the lobbyists who represent the liberal non-profits at the state legislature about how willing Romanoff is to compromise on just about everything.  Look at his voting record as well.  He rarely takes a chance, with a few exceptions.

    Why did he wait until now?  He has waited until many Democrats have already committed to Bennet in an effort to hold on to this seat.  If he wanted to run he should not have gone through the Mario Cuomo excruciating process of being out and then in – as if he was waiting for the crowds to anoint him, unable to sully himself by admitting to his bald ambition.  

    This rap about Bennet having been elected by one vote is pretty ridiculous.  Sure, Romanoff has been elected to the state legislature (in a solidly D district – not much of a race).  But had he been appointed instead of Bennet, he would also have been handed the seat.  Anybody who was appointed was inevitably going to be in the same boat.  Bennet has been on the road since day one – meeting with people throughout the state.  He knows he has to sell himself and he has been tireless in that effort.

    As for the merits of Bennet’s appointment, I think the governor genuinely wanted someone fresh who had been in business and in public policy.  It is rare to find a senator who knows how business finance works from the inside.  Plus, he has actually run a school district and implemented new policies (not that I agree with all of them).  Romanoff?  Well, he’s been a great politician, but what can he point to beyond legislation that he has done?  What experience does he bring to the Senate other than the experience of politics?  Yes, some of his legislation has been creative and truly beneficial for Colorado.  I don’t knock his legislative record, and I don’t knock what he achieved in turning the state house blue.  But I, for one, believe it is good for politicians to have some “real life” experience outside of politics, and more than the “real life” experience you get sitting in the proverbial diner on the campaign trail listening to tales from other people’s lives.

    Romanoff needs to get the star dust out of his eyes.  He takes a nice photo and cracks a nice joke.  He gives a good speech – a remarkably good speech.  But he needs to show he has more than just blind ambition and he needs to bring more to the table than a gift for politics.

    • wade norris says:

      d.g.

      but your comment in your diary comments:

      If carbon could be captured and sequestered permanently (and geologists will tell you that is possible) wouldn’t cleaning up coal be better than the Pandora’s box of a massive nuclear power construction campaign?  

      this sounds like the same conservadem talking points – baiting and switching the public from true energy reform to solar and wind to a false argument between coal and nuclear – which equals limited climate change legislation.

      we can not afford to hesitate on meaningful legislation.

      and as for this

      But I, for one, believe it is good for politicians to have some “real life” experience outside of politics, and more than the “real life” experience you get sitting in the proverbial diner on the campaign trail listening to tales from other people’s lives.

      Romanoff, yes, is a politician who served the public in Colorado for 8 years.

      Bennet has been working for Anschutz, the richest person in Colorado, and suprise

      Ritter looked at his ability to get money and picked him.

      (and, Yes, when Ken Salazar was being chosen for his appointment, money was the focus for Ritter)

      Well, money, and ‘clean coal industry’ money is something i can do without.

      I am not a blind fan of Romanoff nor a detester of Bennet, I just want to see the people of Colorado get a chance to hear where a person stands on the issues.

      this primary gives them that chance.

    • BlueCat says:

      Umm, legislating is what Senators do   That’s kind of the point and it takes political skill. You may have heard something along those lines in all the retrospectives on Sen. Ted Kennedy, widely considered the greatest legislator of our time?

      Bennet may prove to be a skilled legislator and there are lots of perfectly valid reasons to question this move by Romanoff but I must say that’s the oddest one I’ve heard so far.  

  35. PolitianWatch says:

    Michael Bennett voted against the cram down legislation which would have allowed bankruptcy judges the ability to modify loans. That told me two things about Michael Bennett. He is bought and paid for by special interests and he used bad judgment by not supporting this legislation. Foreclosures are at an all time high with no end in sight.

    And you see how that has worked for our country.  Now it looks as though commercial real estate is the next bubble about to implode.  Had the government had a stick to work with it wouldn’t have been as bad as it is now. And the situation continues to decline.  It was a bad decision to give the banks bail out money and not force them to work with homeowners because in the end it has not only hurt homeowners but it has hurt the banks as well.   Banks and mortgage companies could have cut their losses by negotiating with homeowners. They missed their opportunity.  This has led to banks being shut down by our government because they are insolvent like Colonial Bank and the mortgage company Taylor Bean & Whitaker.  

    http://online.wsj.com/article/

    Michael Bennett didn’t contemplate that in the end not supporting this legislation was not only going to continue to hurt the middleclass but it was also going to hurt his paymasters as well.  

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