A friend of mine once told me he loved politics because every two years he got to see new and creative ways that Democrats screw up a sure thing. He won’t be disappointed in 2010 if Andrew Romanoff stays in the Senate race.
Andrew Romanoff is a good and decent man. Most of us CO progressives would have given our I-teeth to see him appointed to the Senate months ago.
This contentious primary has became ugly, with some Romanoff supporters unable to separate the personal from the political. Some of them seem willing to (politically) kill anyone who stands in their way, because of their fierce loyalty to their friend. More than one has said, “He helped me get elected, or he canvassed for our county.” Their loyalty is impressive, but at what cost to the state of CO and to the nation?
Driven by anger toward Governor Ritter for exercising his right as a Governor to fill a vacancy left by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar (imagine that?), Andrew Romanoff’s supporters are insistent that he be given a second chance at becoming Senator. They are going to all lengths, including considering an unprecedented vote of the Denver Dems to formally endorse him. They are willing to risk dividing the State Democratic Party, chasing away tens of thousands of former Obama volunteers and independents who have clearly told us they hate partison politics, and keeping major funding donors like the DSCC from helping either candidate, thus increasing the chances Republicans take back one of CO’s Senate seats.
And if that weren’t bad enough, all of the negative mud-slinging is hurting Governor Ritter’s chance for re-election, as well. This could be a two-fer for the Republicans. (DSCC money could have helped down-ticket Dems like Mike Coffman’s opponent John Flerlage, too.)
On the other hand, Michael Bennet has done an outstanding job as a freshman Senator, and is increasingly recognized all over the country as a leader in the health care reform movement. His appointment to the Senate HELP committee, as well as his endorsement by President Obama, are an indication most of the national players will support him in this race. Senator Harry Reid referred to Michael Bennet in a speech as “our expert” on health care insurance reform. With each passing day, Senator Bennet makes a bigger splash on the national stage. We may not like how he got appointed, but he has been doing a stellar job since his first day. Seemingly everyone except Colorado Democratic party officers blinded by their Romanoff-loyalty seem to be aware of that fact.
Watching Andrew Romanoff try to catch up to Michael Bennet is heartbreaking. Party activists know Andrew Romanoff as an effective leader in the state legislature. Most CO Dems do not pay that close attention. Most of them will go to the election booth in the primary and vote for the impressive and articulatae new Senator they have been following on television.
Andrew Romanoff cannot raise enough money to compete, and it is sad to watch him grovel. His supporters might consider what this desperate act may due to what could have been a bright and promising opportunity elsewhere. An embarrassing loss will not help Andrew Romanoff’s career in the future.
Remember when Ralph Nader had a reputation as a hero to the people, until he gave us George W. Bush, wrapped up in a big, red, Republican ribbon? A lifetime of work for average Americans became a simple legacy as “spoiler”.
Whoever wins this primary, we will all work diligently to help them get elected in the general election. Either candidate will be better than the Republican alternative. We know Michael Bennet will be an excellent Senator — we’ve already seen it. Unfortunately, because there is now a unnecessary, contentious primary, the chances of winning that election are diminished more every day Andrew Romanoff stays in this race. We’ll be lucky if CO Dems don’t lose their shirts in 2010.
I hate it when my friend is right, but he usually is.