An undeniable barometer of nervousness, says National Journal’s Hotline:
Ex-CO LG Jane Norton (R) leads the GOP field in her bid to face Sen. Michael Bennet (D), but a costly primary is already sapping Norton of much-needed resources as she heads into an early test of strength.
Norton has spent $243K on TV ads since announcing her candidacy, including a recent surge in the run-up to tonight’s caucuses. The ads urge GOPers to attend the caucuses which, even though they are non-binding, could serve as an embarrassment if she loses to either of her less-well-known rivals.
The run-up to the statewide caucuses “is hugely labor-intensive. It’s all-consuming for a campaign,” said GOP pollster Nicole McClesky, a veteran of CO campaigns who is not affiliated with a candidate this year. Even if Norton loses tonight, McClesky said, “she’s the front-runner.”
But as in other states where the GOP’s establishment favorite has run into roadblocks, Norton is finding trouble on her right flank. If Norton loses to either of her 2 rivals tonight, it will be evidence that the GOP activist class is not ready to coalesce around a candidate yet, and that attacks on Norton’s record are having an impact.