Monday before the caucuses, a friend sent me an email asking:
What do you think of Bennet v. Romanoff? Are there good arguments for one versus the other?
The caucuses were over by the time I gave this reply:
I was a Romanoff supporter up ’til a few weeks ago. Now I’m officially a delegate to the Assembly for Bennet.
I was going to vote for Romanoff out of respect, loyalty and true like for the man. I’ve voted for him 4 times since 2000, met him on many occasions, and have exchanged several emails with him and his staff when he was Speaker over some legislative ideas (he actually passed a bill that was one of the issues we discussed).
I wanted him to be appointed to the Senate position, and blogged about Ritter’s Gift to the Republicans in picking Bennet, who had never held elective office before.
So it was natural that I would support him at the caucuses. However, a few things changed. Bennet has really done an amazing job of Senator. He has positions on several powerful committees, and has the ear of Obama and Senate leaders. He re-ignited the Public Option, and has introduced legislation to put limits on lobbying, earmarks and limiting filibuster abuse.
He has the financial wherewithal to run a competitive campaign against any GOP candidate — Romanoff’s quixotic stand against taking PAC money (he actually had his own PAC in the State House) makes a nice slogan, but is suicidal. The tone of his campaign is to paint Bennet as corrupt, but Romanoff’s policy decisions aren’t demonstrably different from Bennet’s. The final straw was the overall negative tone of Romanoff’s campaign along with his hiring (however briefly) Patrick Caddell, a turncoat Democrat who regularly bashes Democrats as a Fox News consultant.
Tonight’s vote was purely symbolic, as the actual primary in August determines the winner. Tonight was mainly for bragging rights, measuring voter passion (turnout will exceed 20,000 — which is very strong for an off year), and to get up and personal with the candidates and delegates for fundraising, volunteers and party recruitment.
The real bottomline is that symbols matter, so I decided that if the caucus results would send a message, for me it would be that we have a powerful, effective Senator in Michael Bennet.
I certainly cannot find any cause to throw a sitting Senator out of office.
The postscript to this exchange:
I went to my very first political function of any kind this evening, and heard the exact same things you said here so eloquently, and left with the same position — delegate for Bennet for April 10th.
It was more interesting than I was expecting, and the people were lovely.