The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby updates on 2010’s U.S. Senate primary loser, former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton. Here’s a reason, maybe just one but a good one, the more recent lists of likely GOP candidates to challenge Mark Udall in 2014 haven’t included her name:
Norton, a Grand Junction native who lost the 2010 Republican Party nomination to Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, owes as many as 18 creditors nearly $476,000.
But while she’s tried to raise additional funds to cover that debt over the past two years, she’s only managed to pull in a few thousand dollars [Pols emphasis] to help pay off her mostly out-of-state creditors, her husband, Mike Norton, said.
As a result, her campaign, Jane Norton for Colorado Inc., filed a debt settlement plan with the Federal Election Commission offering to pay about 4.6 cents on the dollar…
Norton said his wife blames people who ran the campaign, but declined to point fingers at anyone specifically.
“Jane entrusted a group of people with the responsibility to manage and run the campaign, and do with the resources that were made available,” Mike Norton said. “That just didn’t happen.”
He stopped short, however, of naming specific people, including former Grand Junction state senator Josh Penry, who ran the campaign for more than three months before the August 2010 GOP primary, when she earned 48 percent of the vote.
Back in May of 2011, Norton was praised by New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte as a “terrific” potential candidate in 2014, and Norton’s brother-in-law, powerful D.C. lobbyist Charlie Black held a fund raiser for both Ayotte and to retire Norton’s primary debt.
Apparently that fundraiser didn’t go so well? Not what we would expect from Charlie Black.
Needless to say, this puts Norton at a significant disadvantage to starting fresh in 2014, particularly if the settlement plan is not approved. Even if it is, while there is no doubt a deep pool of consultants and vendors to replace any with whom bridges that have been burned, we would expect them all to ask for payment in advance from Norton wherever possible.
Bottom line: the stars aren’t aligned for Norton in 2014 like they (almost) were in 2010, and her lingering campaign debt problems are just another symptom of her unresolved weaknesses. The expected difficulty of this race for any Republican candidate is probably deterrent enough, and the embarrassment of stories like this one surely won’t help. It’s well known that Norton came out of the 2010 Senate primary bitterly disappointed, and she probably does believe she would have beat freshly-appointed Michael Bennet. But that moment is gone forever.