(Bumped into Thursday by popular demand – promoted by Colorado Pols)
Romanoff’s campaign is shaping up to be a far lower-profile — and less damaging — effort than Democrats anticipated. Three months after announcing his bid, Romanoff remains a distinctly under-the-radar candidate, picking up little media coverage and shying away from launching pointed barbs against his establishment opponent.
“I don’t think he’s been able to give an answer to the question, ‘Why are you running?'” said Floyd Ciruli, an independent Denver-based pollster. “It’s left the campaign without a clear constituency and without a clear message.”
Perhaps most surprising to state insiders, Romanoff has overseen a Senate campaign that is decidedly lacking in infrastructure. Sue Casey, a veteran party operative who ran Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 effort in the state, confirmed to POLITICO that she left Romanoff’s campaign in October – a departure that has left the campaign without a manager for the past several months…
…With Casey gone, sources familiar with the campaign say Romanoff has largely relied on a staff of informal advisers, including his cousin Melissa Caplan and Ken Gordon, a former Democratic leader in the state Legislature. Dave Hemrick and Tom McMahon, two veteran Washington-based Democratic strategists, have also been advising the campaign.
To Democrats in the state, Romanoff’s relative quietness in a contest many expected to be a barnburner has raised broader questions about whether he should have stepped into the race in the first place.
We first noted that Casey was out of the Romanoff campaign back in November, wondering who was driving and where they were headed. Some Romanoff supporters have jumped to his defense here on Colorado Pols, but we’ve just been calling it like we see it — despite the spin attempts.
“There’s no sense of momentum; there’s no sense anything is happening,” said another well-connected Democrat in the state. “I’m not sure anyone is running his campaign, quite frankly.”
In a statement to POLITICO, Romanoff spokesman John Schroyer said the team was “delighted with how the campaign is developing. The campaign staff continues to grow.” Schroyer noted that the campaign “has been endorsed by 200 elected leaders, has 900 volunteers … and has collected more than 2,600 contributions, with 95 percent of those from in-state donors.”
Look, this is what you are supposed to say when you are a campaign spokesperson — that you are “delighted with how the campaign is developing.” But no rational observer could look at this campaign and think everything is just swell.
The Politico article runs down basically the same issues and concerns that most Colorado political observers — including us — have had about Romanoff’s campaign. There’s no message, no clear direction, and not much to get excited about now that the potential of Romanoff as a candidate has given way to the reality.
The only part of the Politico article that we don’t agree with is Ciruli’s nonsense statement that a Romanoff victory in the caucus will make this a race; Romanoff is supposed to win the caucus because hardcore Democrats are more familiar with him. The real question is whether Romanoff’s campaign can make it that far.