Romanoff Won’t Run for Congress in CD-6

The Denver newspaper is reporting that Democrat Andrew Romanoff has decided not to run for Congress in the newly-redistricted CD-6.

We discussed yesterday that Romanoff didn’t have too long to decide about whether or not he would challenge Joe Miklosi for the Democratic nomination and the right to challenge incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman. Romanoff’s entry into the race may have forced Miklosi to the sidelines rather than face a primary against the much better-known former House Speaker, but the longer he waited to make a decision on running, the more he risked further alienating Democrats who were not pleased with his challenge to Sen. Michael Bennet in 2010. Romanoff’s consideration of the race certainly didn’t help Miklosi’s ongoing fundraising efforts, and had he waited until, say, mid-January to make a decision and still opted against running, he would have severely hampered Miklosi’s bid to take out Coffman.

While there may be a few more names floated on the Democratic side for CD-6, we would expect that Miklosi will go unchallenged for the nomination at this point.

With CD-6 Blown Wide Open…

UPDATE: Miklosi is working hard on trying to discourage a primary, though no amount of endorsements will likely be enough to deter potential opponents until he proves he can raise enough money himself. In a press release sent out today, Miklosi’s campaign says he has the support of “every Democrat serving in the Colorado State House of Representatives.” Full release after the jump.

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As FOX 31′s Eli Stokols reports:

Congressman Mike Coffman issued a long statement Monday expressing both disappointment about a judge’s decision last week to re-draw his district and excitement about a tougher reelection fight next year…

“Aurora Democrats mostly come from hard working class families and they are not at all like the Nancy Pelosi liberal Democrats of Denver and Boulder. With the legacy of Fitzsimons, Lowry and Buckley, many of them are veterans, and my Army and Marine Corps background will be a big plus.”

Coffman, who was elected in 2008 and easily reelected in 2010, is expected to face a stronger-than-expected Democratic challenge…

Right now, state Rep. Joe Miklosi is the only declared Democratic candidate running in the 6th, but rumors are running rampant that other candidates — Andrew Romanoff and state Sen. Morgan Carroll, among others — could also be looking at a run.

Miklosi, who has already filled top campaign staff positions, is holding a fundraiser Monday night in Aurora and, overall, looking to demonstrate his viability in an effort to head off a potential primary challenger.

Carroll, D-Aurora, is among the hosts for Miklosi’s fundraiser — state Reps. Rhonda Fields and Nancy Todd are two other prominent Aurora Democrats already on board — and is not giving any indication that she’s considering a run.

What we understand is that Sen. Morgan Carroll of Aurora is not interested in running–hosting last night’s fundraiser for CD-6 candidate Rep. Joe Miklosi is about as strong a message as she can send. With that said, the new CD-6 is quickly elevating to national prominence, perhaps one of the very best pickup opportunities available to Democrats in the nation. That being the case, national Democrats have a strong interest in taking no chances on victory.

Sources tell us that former U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff is much more interested in Mike Coffman’s seat than press reports heretofore have indicated, and is considered a very strong contender if he gets into the race. Romanoff’s high profile as a Senate candidate and history as Speaker of the Colorado House make him one of the most formidable contenders for Coffman’s seat available. The problem as we understand it is Romanoff’s trademark cautious style: he may be under the impression that he can wait to declare his candidacy, kind of like he waited to do so in his challenge against U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.

That would be most unwise. Romanoff’s failure to get into the 2010 Senate race for months while Bennet burnished his credentials and won over allies was a major factor in his defeat in the primary. If Romanoff thinks that delaying his entry into the race won’t strengthen Miklosi–or lure others with competitive stature into the race–he could be making another career-jeopardizing mistake. We’ll be honest with you: not many people get as many chances as Romanoff may get again here, especially after the kind of nasty insurgent campaign he ran against Bennet. The window for Romanoff to make up his mind is quite small.

On the other side of this race, we’ve heard some interesting things–despite Coffman’s bravado above, it’s an academic fact that an arch-conservative like himself will face huge, possibly intractable problems holding on to this seat. Remember also that Coffman is far from universally loved by the Colorado Republican establishment: that’s part of the reason why you’re not seeing the outrage from Ryan Call over Coffman’s redrawn district you might otherwise expect. With all this in mind, it has been suggested to us–suggested, mind you, not necessarily predicted–that a Republican challenger could emerge to attempt to better hold the seat.

As hard as we’ve (deservedly) been on Ryan Frazier, could he beat Coffman in a GOP primary in the new CD-6? That’s just one name, there are a few others we’re not quite yet ready to mention–but we’re pretty confident that Coffman knows who they are.

That’s the fluid state of things right now. Obviously we’ll be updating as we learn more.

Press release from Miklosi campaign:

COLORADO 6TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT CANDIDATE JOE MIKLOSI SHORES UP PARTY SUPPORT WITH STATE HOUSE ENDORSEMENTS

Colorado State Representatives Unanimously Endorse Miklosi for Congressional Race

Greenwood Village, CO – November 15, 2011 – Today, the Joe Miklosi Congressional Campaign announced it has earned the support of every Democrat serving in the Colorado State House of Representatives.

The endorsement demonstrates the strong support for State Representative Miklosi’s campaign to defeat Republican congressman Mike Coffman.  Joe has earned the respect and support of his fellow legislators through hard work and effective leadership.

For the past three years, Mr. Miklosi has served in the Colorado State House of Representatives on behalf of House District 9, which encompasses portions of Arapahoe County that will be included in the newly formed 6th congressional district.

The Miklosi Campaign reports endorsements from distinguished members of the Colorado State House of Representatives including: Ed Casso, Lois Court, Crisanta Duran, Mark Ferrandino, Rhonda Fields, Randy Fischer, Deb Gardner, Millie Hamner, Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, Matt Jones, Daniel Kagan, John Kefalas, Andy Kerr, Jeanne Labuda, Pete Lee, Claire Levy, Beth McCann, Wes McKinley, Dan Pabon, Sal Pace, Cherylin Peniston, Su Ryden,  Sue Schafer, Judy Solano, John Soper, Nancy Todd, Max Tyler, Ed Vigil, Angela Williams, Roger Wilson, and Dave Young.

“I’m grateful for the solid support of my colleagues in the State House,” said Representative Miklosi. “Our campaign is laser-focused on getting the U.S. economy on the fast-track to recovery. We believe mainstream voters will reject my opponents’ do-nothing approach and join us as we take decisive action to get this county back on its feet and make Colorado the Renewable Energy Capital of the country.”

State Representative Miklosi has worked to balance the Colorado budget every year he has been in office.  He worked on the Audit Committee, which conducted 52 audits in 2010 and saved Colorado taxpayers approximately 47 million dollars. As a member of the state legislature, Representative Miklosi has cut his own salary. Last year, Mr. Miklosi sponsored two job fairs to help people find employment.

“I’m running for Congress to create jobs and to restore economic growth.  We’re facing one of the most challenging times this country has experienced in generations,” said Miklosi, “and we are going to win this election by focusing on the issues that impact the pocketbooks of families.”

Current Representative Mike Coffman is extremely vulnerable. Across his term, he has voted twice to destroy Medicare, has declared Social Security a Ponzi scheme, and has failed to offer leadership during a severe economic crisis.

Without sponsoring any significant legislation to create jobs and restore the U.S. economy, Mr. Coffman has instead pursued a radical social agenda outside the mainstream. The few original legislative proposals he has offered have found little support among Republicans or Democrats in Congress.

About Joe Miklosi

Joe Miklosi brings a well-rounded business and civic background to the race. In addition to three years of legislative experience working across party lines to get things done in the Colorado House of Representatives, included his service on the audit committee, his career includes six years of business development experience, where he helped start an Internet software company, nearly four years working at Project C.U.R.E. in Centennial, Colorado, which provides life-saving medical supplies to hospitals in 120 developing nations, and 12 years of public policy experience.

To Learn More about Representative Miklosi, visit his website, www.JoeMiklosi.com, or his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/JoeMiklosi

Effort to Recall Andrea Merida Underway

There’s really no reason that a freshman member of the Denver School Board should be getting as much publicity as Andrea Merida has received in the last year. But then again, there’s really no reason that a Denver School Board member should have made so many pointless, and avoidable, mistakes in less than one year.

So it is that the large Denver newspaper is reporting that a recall effort has begun to remove Merida from the Denver School Board. We can’t say we’re surprised at this; we wrote in late July that her political career was probably coming to an end sooner than she expected. As we said after it was revealed that Merida had been working for the Andrew Romanoff campaign in a paid position, at the same time that she was openly attacking Sen. Michael Bennet (who was the former Denver Schools Superintendent):

Merida seems to think it is an important point that she endorsed Romanoff before she was hired by his campaign, which, of course, is completely irrelevant. And her defiant “to suggest that my work on the Denver Board of Education is for sale” statement misses the point that it was her own nondisclosure that brought up the question in the first place.

The fact that she was a paid staffer for the campaign trying to bring down the former head of Denver Public Schools, and did not disclose this, all the while politicizing the DPS board’s policymaking in ways that directly sought to benefit the campaign she was employed by, provokes grave questions about Andrea Merida’s fitness to serve in any capacity. The fact that Merida barely seems to understand why it was wrong in the first place only makes those questions grow louder.

Once the petition language is certified, supporters of the recall (led by community activist Jose Silva) have 60 days to collect 4,032 signatures from registered voters living in Merida’s District 2 (which is Southwest Denver, South of 6th Ave. and West of I-25), which is not really an onerous task. If sufficient signatures are gathered, a two-part ballot would be presented to voters; one question would be to approve the recall, with the second question a choice between a new group of candidates.

Merida has stumbled over her own feet literally from day one on the School Board, and we’d be surprised if she’s still on the Board this time next year.

Democrats Hold Hands, Sing Kumbaya, Share Cookies and Milk

The Democratic “Unity” Rally was held this afternoon in Denver to show that things were just hunky-dorey for Sen. Michael Bennet and former challenger Andrew Romanoff (full press release from the Bennet campaign and from Colorado Democrats after the jump).

Said Romanoff:

“I am very, very proud of our grassroots team, and proud to see so many folks standing with us together in this united Democratic Party today. For not just my sake, and not Michael’s sake, and not even for the sake of the Democratic Party, I’m asking you today to throw your support fully and unequivocally behind Michael Bennet for the United States Senate.”

This is all pretty standard stuff in terms of the Kumbaya atmosphere, which makes it all the more curious that Colorado Republicans don’t seem prepared to do the same thing just yet. Heck, GOP Gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes apparently can’t even get a phone call right now from other Republicans.

Bennet Campaign Press Release:

Supporters of Andrew Romanoff and Michael Bennet filled the lawn of the state Capitol building today as the former rivals came together in a united front, pledging to work together as sights turn toward November. Two days after Michael won the Colorado Democratic Senate primary, Speaker Romanoff rallied supporters of his campaign to support Michael and asked them to do everything in their power to keep Michael in the Senate.

“I am very, very proud of our grassroots team, and proud to see so many folks standing with us together in this united Democratic Party today,” said Romanoff.  ”For not just my sake, and not Michael’s sake, and not even for the sake of the Democratic Party, I’m asking you today to throw your support fully and unequivocally behind Michael Bennet for the United States Senate.”

Following the Speaker’s sincere and gracious speech, Michael Bennet addressed the crowd of supporters gathered at the Capitol. Michael spoke to Romanoff’s supporters, volunteers, and staff, promising to work hard to earn their support.

Michael went on to say, “Andrew’s legacy within the Democratic Party runs deep and will only continue on in the years to come. He is a man who has given his time and talents to this state, its people and our party, and Colorado is a better place for having Andrew as a leader.”

For the past year, Michael and Speaker Romanoff competed in a spirited primary that challenged both candidates to build an extensive grassroots network, cultivate a fundraising base, and develop the type of campaign organization essential to winning in November. Michael’s campaign, Bennet for Colorado, has emerged a stronger, battle-tested organization as a result of Speaker Romanoff’s challenge.

Michael closed the rally highlighting several key issues on which he and his Republican opponent Ken Buck clearly disagree. Michael vowed to reject ideological extremes in favor of common-sense solutions informed by his unique, real-world experience saving jobs, balancing budgets and reforming public schools – experience that has separated him from every other candidate in the race since the beginning.  

In closing, Michael and Speaker Romanoff both drew clear distinctions between the extreme positions Ken Buck represents and the solutions for Colorado that Michael is fighting for everyday.  

“The end that we share is a better quality of life, a higher standard of living, a cleaner and healthier environment, more affordable healthcare, stronger schools, more jobs,” said Romanoff. “Those goals, which we share, will better be advanced by Michael Bennet than any other candidate in this race. It is an easy call for me, and it should be an easy call for all of you as well.”

These points were echoed by Michael,”As we face the most savage economy since the Great Depression, we must look at providing a better education for our kids, and as we tackle the out-of-control spending that stands to saddle generations to come with debt, there is a serious debate to be had about how we bring about solutions. Because the opponent we’re facing this fall believes in efforts that are simply too extreme for Colorado.”

Colorado Democratic Party Press Release

The Colorado Democratic Party celebrated Democratic candidates statewide today during a unity rally in front of the state capitol building. Democratic elected officials and candidates alike came together and pledged to support each other’s campaigns. Senator Michael Bennet and Former Speaker Andrew Romanoff appeared together. Governor Tim Kaine, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC),  Senator Mark Udall, Senator Michael Bennet, Former Speaker Andrew Romanoff, Congressman Ed Perlmutter, Lt. Governor Barbara O’Brien, State Treasurer Cary Kennedy, Attorney General Candidate Stan Garnett, House Speaker Terrance Carroll, Senate President Brandon Shaffer, Lt. Governor Candidate Joe Garcia, CD 6 Candidate John Flerlage, CU Regent Candidate Melissa Hart, CDP Chair Pat Waak and many more were present during the rally.

Below are remarks from Democratic officials statewide:

Senator Mark Udall stated, “Michael has spent his life outside of politics, he has turned around struggling companies and turned around failing schools, those skills and experiences are desperately needed in Washington. He has been a strong and effective voice for solving problems and putting aside political games. Having earned voters’ support and the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, I am confident Michael is the best choice for Colorado and the partner I need in the Senate.  I look forward to campaigning with Michael in the coming months so we can continue our partnership working on behalf of the people of Colorado.”

“Colorado Democrats this year are fired up and ready to go,” said Congressman Ed Perlmutter.  ”Democrats want to drive this country forward in getting people back to work and toward economic stability, unlike the Republicans who want to put the gears in reverse and go back to the Bush failed policies and Wall Street free-for-all.  The bottom line is they are in disarray and divided, and we are united.”

Congresswoman Diana DeGette said, “Throughout their careers both Michael and Andrew have served the people of Colorado admirably. Now, thanks to our democracy, they can bring together their shared passion and leadership, to make sure we keep our delegation strong to fight for Colorado.”

State Treasurer Cary Kennedy said, “Over the past year, two amazingly talented, caring and dedicated men have shown us how deeply they care about our state and how deeply they care about us — the people who call Colorado their home. That passion can inspire us in the months ahead as we work together to continue to make Colorado such a wonderful place to live.”

“Democrats and all Coloradans are lucky to have such talented public servants willing to step up. It is going to take Democrats working together to make sure we have a government that is accountable and transparent to the citizens. We can’t afford to return to failed leadership of the Bush-Cheney era,” stated Speaker Terrance Carroll. “As the outgoing Speaker, I am so pleased to look around and see what the future of the state house looks like — we look like Colorado, we Democrats ARE Colorado!  We are Black, Latino and White, straight and gay, younger and older, men and women working together for jobs and a strong economy.”

Senate President Brandon Shaffer stated, “This has been a primary season in which everyone has worked very hard for their favorite candidate.  Now it’s time to unite behind our Democratic nominees.  I know we can and I know we will.”

“We are united and will harness the energy of the primary to elect our candidates up and down the ticket,” stated Pat Waak, Colorado Democratic Party Chair.

Why Bennet Beat Romanoff

We’re playing a little bit of catch-up in providing our analysis of the various different outcomes from Tuesday’s Primary. Spurred on by a good Politico story today from David Catanese, here’s our thoughts on how and why Sen. Michael Bennet defeated Andrew Romanoff in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary…

In his Politico story, Catanese lays out a couple of major reasons why Bennet beat Romanoff: 1) Fundraising, 2) Fundamentals, 3) Romanoff’s messaging, 4) President Obama’s support, and, which Catanese writes was most important, 5) The lack of policy differences between Bennet and Romanoff. These are all strong arguments, and we agree with all of them. But here’s what we think made the difference, in order of importance:

1. The Fundamentals of Ballot Chasing

In an election that saw record turnout, due in no small part to the mostly all-mail ballot voting, the core difference was Bennet’s superior ground operation. Because this race seemed to be coming down to the wire in the last week, it’s easy to forget that it was not all that close in the end; Bennet won by an 8-point margin, with a difference of more than 28,000 votes separating the candidates.

Some of the Bennet advantage here came down to fundraising, because his campaign was able to spend more money on staff without having to cut back on TV time. Both campaigns had a lot of volunteer help, but many of Romanoff’s top field organizers were largely volunteers, because Romanoff needed every penny he could save for television. But whatever the reason, Bennet’s camp had a stronger top-down ballot chase organization, as Politico notes:

“Frankly, it’s just the fundamentals. People help support what they help to create. We brought people in on the ground level and gave them ownership and accountability. People want to meet hard goals and they will because it feels good to meet them,” said a Bennet aide, referring to the 500,000 attempted calls staffers made between July 19 and Aug. 10…

…Romanoff did not produce the margin he needed out of his base in Denver County, where he only bested Bennet by six percentage points.

“Romanoff needed to win Pueblo and Denver County by really, really large margins,” observed Mike Stratton, a longtime Democratic strategist who supported Bennet and directed the campaigns of former Sens. Ken Salazar and Gary Hart.

By last Wednesday, about two-thirds of Democratic ballots had already been cast. Those first 200,000 Democratic voters equaled the number of voters who cast ballots in the entire 2008 Democratic Primary (which did not have a statewide Primary contest), which meant that the last 140-some thousand votes were probably being cast by (mostly) new voters. Bennet’s campaign identified their supporters and turned them out to vote in better numbers than Romanoff, which helped them overcome a late negative story from The New York Times.

2. Messaging

Romanoff had been in the race for three solid months before he came out with even a small semblance of a message. It wasn’t until late December/early January that he really started pushing his “No PAC Money” message, and it wasn’t a strong-enough issue on its own to win him the election. A “no PAC money” pledge should be a secondary message – not the basis of an entire campaign – because it’s more of an inside baseball approach; the average Primary voter is not generally more informed than the average General Election voter, most of whom probably have no idea what “PAC” even stands for.

As Politico writes:

In the closing two weeks of the campaign, Romanoff appeared to be gaining some ground with his fusillade of attacks, targeting Bennet’s campaign contributions, business dealings and record as Denver school superintendent. But – to the Bennet campaign’s surprise and relief – he never pivoted to a positive message, which left late-deciding voters and fence sitters with a bitter taste…

…But the biggest factor in Romanoff’s failure to gain more ground was that despite the acrimonious back-and-forth between him and Bennet, the policy differences between them never seemed to be substantial.

It’s a fundamental rule of politics that in any campaign against an incumbent, you must both “make the case to fire” and “make the case to hire.” Romanoff never really completed either argument; he came the closest to making the “case to fire” argument, but he certainly never fully made the case why he was a better choice than Bennet. It was a recurring question that came up time and time again in the race, a question which Romanoff never had a good answer for: “What would you do differently?”

To this end, Romanoff also failed at promoting himself in a positive light. Even if his commercials convinced you that Bennet was a bad choice, they never fully explained why Romanoff was a good choice instead. The 2004 re-election campaign of President George W. Bush is a good example of doing this strategically; in late September and early October, Bush’s ads were all about how John Kerry was a terrible candidate. But in the last 2-3 weeks of the campaign, the tone shifted into positive ads about how Bush was the kind of guy you could have a beer with. Romanoff never made that shift, and it cost him.

And finally, where messaging is concerned, Romanoff went one step too far in the negative campaigning. His “Greed” ad that accused Bennet of “looting companies and forcing them into bankruptcy” was widely condemned, and it absolutely backfired. The over-the-top rhetoric in the ad made Romanoff look like a caricature of the same sleazy politician who will say anything to win – an image that was in sharp contrast to what he had tried to portray for months. It’s always a bad sign when the discussion is more about whether your ad is unfairly negative than it is about the message you were trying to convey.

3. Romanoff Got Mired In Too Many Details

The much-discussed New York Times article that was critical of Bennet’s financial decisions while he was Superintendent of Denver Public Schools is a prime example of this. There’s no question that the story was bad for Bennet, and there’s also no question that the timing of it wasn’t ideal; by the time the article ran late last week, there wasn’t enough time left for Romanoff to show it to voters. But even if that story had hit a week or two earlier, it’s hard to say what it would have done because it was just too complicated for the average voter to understand. Financial derivatives are not exactly the best fodder for a negative ad.

But this wasn’t the only example of Romanoff getting stuck in the details. We still remember his campaign statement on the re-election of Omar al-Bashir as President of Sudan because it was typical Romanoff: Too much policy, not enough politics. While Bennet was in the middle of discussions on financial, health care and energy reform in the Senate, Romanoff was putting out statements on his position on the President of a country that half of voters probably never even heard of before.

And then there was the long, drawn-out and unsuccessful attack on Bennet for taking money from Westwood College that was made to look like a bribe by Romanoff’s campaign. In the end, it wasn’t even clear what vote we were supposed to be angry about, and Westwood College even said that Bennet didn’t vote the way they wanted anyway.

Romanoff also seemed unable to properly manage his time and efforts. For example, he wrote a long Op-Ed disputing a Washington Post column by Dana Milbank in which he did a point-by-point rebuttal. That’s great if you’re on the debate team, but you don’t have time to respond to every single critic when you are a U.S. Senate candidate.

3. Fundraising

Bennet has proved to be a prolific fundraiser, and his huge cash advantage meant that he didn’t have to make the same difficult choices that Romanoff had to make.  As we wrote above, Romanoff didn’t have the luxury of being able to fund a full staff and a significant television buy, and that left him at a huge disadvantage when it came to the ballot chase.

Romanoff’s lack of fundraising also kept his challenge largely off the national radar, because every time you looked at Colorado’s quarterly reports, you saw a huge disparity between the two candidates. Raising money is an important way to prove to other big donors that you are worth a check from them because you really might be able to win. Romanoff needed that kind of momentum much earlier in the campaign; when it finally came in the last few weeks, it was too little, too late.

Once the ballots were being counted, the things that killed the Romanoff campaign were the same things that had doomed it from the start. He never had a real reason for why he would be different than Bennet, he was never able to raise much money, and both of those problems combined to prevent him from putting a complete campaign together.

As for Bennet, while he probably should have done more to attack Romanoff early and derail any potential momentum later, his campaign played it by the books; they did what they needed to do, and they did it well.

Prediction Time!

Make your predictions below on who you think will win the big statewide Primary races. Get them in before 7:00 tonight to make sure you get full bragging rights for a correct answer, and we’ll think up some sort of prize for the person who makes the most correct predictions.

PREDICTIONS

  • U.S. Senate (Democrats)
  • U.S. Senate (Republicans)
  • Governor (Republicans)
  • Treasurer (Republicans)
  • Tiebraker: The total number of votes cast in the Republican Primary for Treasurer.

    Make sure to put your predictions in a numerical, percentages format. For example: Walker Stapleton over J.J. Ament, 54-46

    Ballot Returns Updated for Today

    POLS NOTE: In order to make comments easier to read and understand, we decided to create a new post for these returns, rather than just updating the original post.

    Below are the turnout numbers reported a little after 3:00 p.m. today by the SOS. Remember that there is some lag time in the reporting process (in other words, there are more ballots returned than what is listed below, but what is listed below is what the various County Clerks reported to the SOS today):

    *Party/ Ballots Returned Thus Far/ Total Active Voters/ Percent Returned

    Democrats: 279,462/ 817,458/ 34%

    Republicans: 314,264/ 855,667/ 37%

    Richard Coolidge of the Secretary of State’s office also included this note in today’s ballot update:

    Colorado County clerks may begin processing (not tabulating) ballots 15 days before the election. All 64 counties should have a good sample of mail ballots tabulated after 7:00pm tomorrow evening. Remember, 46 counties are voting exclusively by mail, so ballots received Tuesday may not be included in that original release of results. The remaining 18 counties will still have mail results, but will also need to factor in votes cast at precinct polling places (like El Paso, Pitkin, Las Animas, etc) or at vote centers (like Weld, Park, Archuleta, etc).

    Our read on these numbers? The Michael Bennet campaign is going to be sweating it out tomorrow, hoping to see turnout reach levels cross well into the 300,000 level (the higher the turnout above 300,000, the better the odds that Bennet wins).

    As for the GOP turnout, we’re curious to see how big the undervote might be. Turnout is pretty high already considering the amount of grumbling from Republicans over their (lack of) great choices for Governor, and to a lesser extent, U.S. Senate, but if most of the returned ballots are casting a vote in the race for Governor and Senate, this benefits Scott McInnis and Jane Norton in their respective races.

    New Polling Shows Bennet, Norton Ahead, GOP Gov. Tossup

    New polling out this morning from Public Policy Polling has some interesting numbers across the board in the three top-ticket Primaries in Colorado:

    U.S. Senate (Democrats)

    Michael Bennet: 49%

    Andrew Romanoff: 43%

    Undecided: 9%

    U.S. Senate (Republicans)

    Jane Norton: 45%

    Ken Buck: 43%

    Undecided: 12%

    Governor (Republicans)

    Scott McInnis: 41%

    Dan Maes: 40%

    Undecided: 19%

    It looks like all of these races are going to come down to the turnout numbers, with higher turnout favoring Bennet, Norton and McInnis (because these three have the highest name ID in their respective races). The Secretary of State’s office will release the latest turnout figures after 3:00 p.m. today, so check back here for that update.

    PPP Poll is out

    Michael Bennet’s holding on to a small lead the day before the Democratic primary for US Senate in Colorado, 49-43 over challenger Andrew Romanoff.

    Snip

    Both candidates are relatively popular with Bennet holding a 57/24 approval rating and Romanoff sporting a 52/27 favorability spread. Bennet’s approval rating with primary voters was 53/22 when PPP last looked at the race in May so the spirited primary campaign doesn’t appear to have had a negative impact on his overall popularity within the party, a good sign for him if he does indeed move onto the fall.

    Poll summary here:

    http://publicpolicypolling.blo…

    Full results, including crosstabs, here:

    http://www.publicpolicypolling…

    Romanoff Attack Ad Universally Panned as Untrue

    We were critical of the latest ad from Democrat Andrew Romanoff, called “Greed,” for saying that Sen. Michael Bennet “pushed companies into bankruptcy and looted a billion dollars.” While there are certainly votes and other issues that Romanoff could use to criticize Bennet, this ad went way beyond just negative campaigning because it outright lied in accusing Bennet of stealing from companies.

    Well, the three biggest Denver news networks have all come out with their “Truth Test” or “Fact Checks” or whatever other clever name they have for checking the accuracy of campaign ads. The result: 3 out of 3 say the main message and components of the “Greed” ad are false.

  • 9News (NBC)
  • Channel 7 (ABC)
  • Channel 4 (CBS)


  • Romanoff Now Says He Would Take DSCC, PAC Help

    UPDATE #3: In an email just sent out by the Romanoff campaign, Romanoff repeats the same canard as earlier. Clearly this has become a huge problem for the campaign, and it didn’t need to be. If only Campaign Manager Bill Romjue had just kept quiet for a few more days…answering the question about DSCC support may very well prove fatal to the Romanoff campaign.

    Here’s Romanoff’s newest statement:

    I don’t take any PAC money now, I have not done so at any point in this campaign, and I will not do so in the general election.  I don’t know how to make my stand any clearer.

    To set this matter to rest, I took one further step today.  I vowed to ask the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) to exclude any PAC dollars from contributions or expenditures it makes on my behalf.

    We don’t want to get too caught up in semantics here, but there’s an important phrase in this statement. Romanoff says “I vowed to ask” the DSCC to exclude PAC dollars. He didn’t vow “not to accept PAC dollars,” because that would be impossible. He knows the DSCC cannot separate PAC money out of its bank account and give Romanoff only the “PAC-free” funds, so he’s really just vowing to ask for something he can’t have.

    And on that note, we vow to ask Santa Claus for a unicorn this Christmas!

    —–

    UPDATE #2: Romanoff has issued a statement in an attempt to clarify: “After I win the primary, I will ask the DSCC to honor my pledge by excluding PAC dollars from any contributions or expenditures it makes on my behalf.”

    This statement is, of course, absurd, because there is no way to separate PAC money from non-PAC money when it all goes into the same account. This would be like saying you want to only eat the healthy parts of a cookie after it has already been baked.

    —–

    UPDATE: Romanoff’s campaign told Politico that the Colorado Statesman article referenced below was “inaccurate.” In its own story today, the Statesman stands by its original reporting:

    The Statesman’s editor and publisher said the newspaper stands by its story…

    …Romanoff sat with a reporter from The Statesman for an interview immediately following a Jan. 19 press conference where he declared he was still running for the Senate – after rumors swirled he was instead considering a run for governor – and made his most uncompromising statement to date about his refusal to take money from political action committees, which he labeled part of an “incumbent protection racket.”

    “Andrew said what he said in response to a direct question about the DSCC,” said Statesman editor Jody Hope Strogoff, who has covered Romanoff’s political career for more than a decade. “If he’d like to make a case he was answering a different question than the one he was asked, he can do that. But he’s had more than six months to correct the record.”

    Strogoff pointed out the Romanoff campaign hasn’t been shy about challenging newspaper stories that have appeared in The Statesman or elsewhere.

    —–

    Original post after the jump.

    As Politico reports today:

    Though surging Colorado Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff has sold his own home in order to maintain his pledge to shun political action committee money, his campaign manager Bill Romjue told POLITICO Tuesday that the Democrat would accept funding from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) in the general election, even though the organization takes money from PACs.

    Romjue argued that the position is not inconsistent with Romanoff’s pledge to swear off all PAC money from corporations and other special interest groups because there’s no direct relationship between the Senate fundraising committee and the PACs…

    “You can always find an ivory tower person that’s completely pure. We’re not an ivory tower person. Andrew’s going to be funded by individuals, but of course we’ll accept money from the DSCC,” Romjue said. [Pols emphasis]

    The problem with these statements from Romjue is that they are completely at odds with what Romanoff has previously said on the record, like to The Colorado Statesman in January:

    Romanoff went even further after his speech, telling The Colorado Statesman he plans to give the cold shoulder to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, if he wins the primary in August.

    “I don’t welcome the outside interference,” Romanoff said. “My campaign is going to continue to rely on contributions from individuals,” he said, eschewing PACs and special-interest donors he labeled part of an “incumbent-protection racket” in his speech.

    “When we win the primary,” Romanoff predicted, “we’ll find a lot of friends around the state and country we might not have now. But I’m not going to change my message to suit the interests of new-found friends.” [Pols emphasis]

    According to the Politico story, the Romanoff campaign says the Statesman story is “inaccurate,” but Romanoff’s quotes are pretty clear.

    This was always one of the fundamental problems with Romanoff relying on a “No PAC Money” campaign message — it’s a reckless, “all or nothing” message for a Primary that absolutely kills him in a General Election. Romanoff would have to have the help of the DSCC to have any chance at winning a General Election, but he’s backed himself into a corner.

    Romanoff Supporters’ Fact-Free Robocall



    Can’t see the audio player? Click here.

    This is the automated call going out to registered Democrats across the state against Sen. Michael Bennet on behalf of Andrew Romanoff, from a group calling itself “New Leadership in Colorado”–who wants you to know that they’re “not one of those shady groups calling you.”

    But they are attacking Bennet for “voting to give a bailout” to “big banks who wrecked our economy.”

    It shouldn’t even be necessary to note that this robocall is telling a bald-faced lie–Michael Bennet wasn’t even in the Senate when the “big bank bailouts” passed in late 2008. But it’s clear enough that being factual, or even remotely close to factual, is not the goal of this robocall–because robocalls are considered to be an under-the-radar way of planting messages with voters you don’t necessarily want to claim as your own, that all makes sense.

    According to the Colorado Statesman, writing last week about other negative radio ads that suddenly cropped up against Bennet, “New Leadership in Colorado” is a 527 run by a former AFL-CIO chief of staff named Debbie Wamsley. Who, evidently, is totally cool with lying to you if it makes you more likely to vote against Michael Bennet.

    The Most Important Number Until the Primary: Turnout

    FRIDAY UPDATE: Here are the turnout numbers as of 2:45 p.m. today. It looks like a lot of voters are still holding onto their ballots:

    *Party/ Ballots Returned Thus Far/ Total Active Voters/ Percent Returned

    Democrats: 245,477/ 817,458/ 30%

    Republicans: 269,646/ 855,667/ 32%


    —–

    Previous updates and original post after the jump

    —–

    WEDNESDAY UPDATE: The Secretary of State’s office has updated the ballot return numbers. Here they are as of about 4:00 p.m. today:

    *Party/ Ballots Returned Thus Far/ Total Active Voters/ Percent Returned

    Democrats: 210,201/ 817,458/ 26%

    Republicans: 222,938/ 855,667/ 26%

    Democrats have already voted in significantly higher numbers than in 2008 (see after the jump for more), while Republicans are almost there. There’s still a lot of ballots to go for either Party to surpass the 335,431 votes cast the last time Colorado had a competitive top-ballot Primary (Pete Coors/Bob Schaffer in 2004).

    —–

    In the last couple of weeks, polls for both the Democratic and Republican Senate races, as well as the Republican Governor’s race, have showed results that are all over the map. Those changing numbers lead us to believe that all three races are going to be relatively close.

    With that in mind, the most important number for the next 8 days is going to be turnout. The general rule of thumb is that a higher turnout benefits the candidates with the best name ID — Sen. Michael Bennet on the Democratic side, and Jane Norton (Senate) and Scott McInnis (Governor) on the Republican ticket — because a larger number of voters usually means a larger number of uninformed voters, for whom name ID is really the most important issue.

    As of this afternoon, here are the turnout results from the Secretary of State’s office. We’ll update these numbers on Wednesday afternoon and again on Friday afternoon (special thanks to the SOS Communications Staff for the timely updates):

    *Party/ Ballots Returned Thus Far/ Total Active Voters/ Percent Returned

    Democrats: 164,878/ 817,458/ 20%

    Republicans: 171,236/ 855,667/ 20%

    In 2006, overall primary turnout was 23%, while in 2008, overall primary turnout was 21.95%. It would appear as though we are well on our way to higher than normal turnout, which makes sense since we haven’t seen a contested statewide primary in Colorado (at the top of the ticket) since the 2004 Republican Senate race between Pete Coors and Bob Schaffer.

    To give those numbers some perspective, here are the numbers for ballots cast for the top ticket race in 2008, 2006 and 2004. Pay particular attention to the 2004 Republican Senate race, which as we said above was the last competitive top-ticket Primary in Colorado:

    DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY VOTING HISTORY

    2008: 194,227 votes cast (Mark Udall, Senate)

    2006: 142,586 votes cast (Bill Ritter, Governor)

    2004: 237,140 votes cast (Ken Salazar/Mike Miles, U.S. Senate)

    REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTING HISTORY

    2008: 239,212 votes case (Bob Schaffer, Senate)

    2006: 193,804 votes cast (Bob Beauprez, Governor)

    2004: 335,431 votes cast (Pete Coors/Bob Schaffer, U.S. Senate)

    Romanoff Destroys His Own Message, Image With Latest Ad

    All campaigns (at least those that are really trying to win) eventually go negative in their advertising and messaging. Both candidates for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate have long since crossed into negative territory. On the Democratic side, Andrew Romanoff first crossed that threshold about 10 days ago, which in response prompted the first negative ad from Sen. Michael Bennet.

    The definition of a negative ad is focusing on a perceived weakness of your opponent, as opposed to pointing out your positive aspects, and we’ve never had a problem with that. But Romanoff’s newest negative ad targeted at Bennet, which was ripped today by the major Denver newspaper, is different.

    The ad, called “Greed” (embedded after the jump), says that while working for Phil Anschutz, Bennet “pushed companies into bankruptcy and looted a billion dollars.”

    You read that right — Romanoff’s ad essentially says that Bennet intentionally bankrupted companies in order to steal money from them. That’s way beyond a negative ad because it’s factually wrong. And intentionally running inaccurate ads to smear your opponent — well, that’s a crap move that’s no better than Jane Norton using 9/11 imagery as a scare tactic. Nobody can say otherwise — not with a straight face, anyway.

    Obviously, Romanoff is pulling out all of the stops in an effort to upset Bennet, but in doing so he has flushed down the toilet the primary message of his entire campaign: That he is a “different” politician who wants to be a Senator “for the rest of us.”

    So long, “Regular Guy Andrew Who Won’t Go Negative.”

    Hello, “Same Old Politician Who Will Say Anything In Order to Win.” Maybe it will get him a Primary victory, and maybe it won’t (we still think Bennet will ultimately win). But if it does…is it really worth the cost? Intentionally spreading egregious lies about someone in your own Party, just to win?