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May 23, 2010 04:24 AM UTC

State Convention Roundup

  • 129 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

The Democratic and Republican state conventions have come to a close, clarifying some ballot positions but complicating others…

GOVERNOR

The story of the day, without a doubt, is Republican Dan Maes’ upset victory over Scott McInnis for topline on the GOP ballot for Governor. Maes almost certainly cannot go on to win this Primary, but make no mistake — this is a devastating blow to McInnis. Maes is spending most of what he raises on himself, but despite no money, no name recognition, and a last-minute campaign to discredit him, he still somehow edged McInnis on Saturday.

Maes’ victory is more about McInnis’ failings than anything else, and it will force McInnis to spend considerable time and money making sure he wins a Primary that he really can’t afford (literally and figuratively) to worry about. More problematic for McInnis is that he now must spend the next few months going even further to the right with his rhetoric in order to try to win back a base that abandoned him for a guy in Maes who really has no business being this close to becoming Governor. The further that McInnis goes to the right, of course, the harder it will be for him to win back moderate voters in a General Election. This is absolutely the worst-case scenario for Republicans hoping to win back the Governor’s Mansion.

Democrat John Hickenlooper has not run an impressive campaign for Governor to this point, and his lack of a ground game has many Democrats concerned, but Saturday’s results at the GOP Assembly has laid this race out on a silver platter for him. As long as Hickenlooper runs even a somewhat decent campaign, it’s hard to see how he won’t end up as Colorado’s next Governor now.

U.S. SENATE

Republican Ken Buck easily won his Party’s nomination, with both Jane Norton and Tom Wiens going the petition route, so there’s not much to say here.

As for the Democrats, Andrew Romanoff won topline with a 60-40 margin over Sen. Michael Bennet, which means…absolutely nothing. That’s no knock on Romanoff, but just the reality given today’s margin is about the same that he held over Bennet after the caucuses; the only thing that would have made any difference in this race would have been holding Bennet under the 30% threshold required to make the ballot, but that was always unlikely. There’s really nothing different today that wasn’t already true yesterday.

This is still a good day for Romanoff, but unfortunately for him, tomorrow’s headlines will be all about Maes and his surprise win in the GOP race for Governor. After the 2004 Democratic convention, the headlines were all about Mike Miles beating Ken Salazar, but Romanoff won’t be the top story tomorrow. That’s a tough break for a campaign that really needs to try to generate some sort of fundraising momentum out of today; Maes’ win was the worst-case scenario for McInnis, but it was also the worst thing that could have happened to the Romanoff campaign (since he was never likely to lose to Bennet).

At the end of the day, however, nothing has really changed in the Senate race on either side of the aisle. The big questions — can Buck and Romanoff raise the money to have a significant television presence — won’t be resolved by anything that happened today.

STATE TREASURER

This was the only other significant race to play out today, and only on the GOP side. Ali Hasan failed to make threshold for ballot access, giving a big victory to J.J. Ament, who now waits to see if Walker Stapleton will have enough petition signatures to qualify for the ballot (which he should). This is a significant win for Ament, since Hasan’s family has strong ties in the Republican Party and Ali had already spent a lot of money on ads. Ament’s overwhelming victory is a show of organizational efficiency that, in our eyes, now makes him the frontrunner to win the Republican Primary.

We still don’t think Ament or Stapleton can defeat incumbent Democrat Cary Kennedy in November, but today’s results are not ideal for the Dems. Kennedy certainly would have preferred to see a three-way primary, with Hasan spending a lot of his own money to beat up both Ament and Stapleton.

 

Comments

129 thoughts on “State Convention Roundup

  1. …was a bit boring and conventional.  He had a terrific convention video — hopefully, we’ll see it again — but other than that, uninspiring.  

    Buck’s program was okay. He lived up to expectations and delivered well.  

    Ali: I expected more from the guy.  

  2. So clearly the Big Line needs updating- move Maes and Romanoff to the a tie or at least much closer.  They won top line.  It’s gotta be big.

      1. This is not a normal year. In fact, with the acceleration coming from the web, we may not have a “normal” year for some time until the new system shakes out.

        So maybe it’s not a big deal. On the flip side you may have McInnis (and/or Bennet) in August saying hey, 48% in the primary is pretty good 🙂

  3. I think McInnis is in for the fight of his life. “Everyone” says that Maes can’t win. But “everyone” also said Maes would be toast by now and people were wondering if Maes would even hit 30%. And keep in mind Maes did this with gas money and that was basically it.

    Also keep in mind that McInnis has been self-destructing. There’s a couple of growing stories that could end McInnis’ chances such as the payment by the Hasan Foundation. If one of these is fatal, then Maes coasts to a win.

    With what has happened so far, I think Maes should be viewed as a very credible threat. Or maybe a better way to put it is that a lot of the normal rules appear to be suspended this election and so we should be wary of measuring the primary by those rules.

    I also want to point out that the winner is the candidate who agreed to an interview (with me). I think the electorate this election is heavily drawn to the candidates who do talk forthrightly about their politics, policies, etc. I think McInnis refusing to do interviews (with many, not just me) hurt him. I’m sure Sean Duffy & team think they are brilliant in restricting access, but losing to Maes sure doesn’t look brilliant to me.

    1. David is spot on. Why are you not a conservative Republican? I half belief you are secretly a registered Republican and a state delegate. 😉

      1. coming out of the RNC then they have definitely unleashed the 2.0 model.  So much more sophisticated and life like than the 2008 models.  I can’t remember the kid’s name but he had the zeal to of a true believer but the cunning of a cow.  If this is the new version of concern troll being rolled out the Republicans are making quantum advances in blogging misdirection.  Just sayin

  4. Sen Bennet did what we needed. Basically 40-60. Now we are up in the polls. The game changes. It’s time to reach the regular folk.

    I like Michael’s chances.

    1. In a normal year I would say that Bennet now walks to a win in August. But it’s not a normal year. There are incumbents losing that normally would never lose.

      I’d say the odds still favor Bennet, but if Romanoff finds something that resonates strongly or Bennet does something dumb, then it’s any-one’s game.

            1. Especially when even Vincent Carroll is dismayed by the Josh Penry-led baseless attacks:

              …launching attacks ever since that would embarrass many a contestant for high- school class president.

      1. No one is going to donate to the Romanoff campaign hoping that Bennet does something dumb.  Or, for that matter, waiting for Romanoff to come up with a compelling reason to vote for him.

        Romanoff’s fundraising this quarter will be as pathetic as all the prior quarters.

        He’s toast.

  5. As long as Hickenlooper runs even a somewhat decent campaign, it’s hard to see how he won’t end up as Colorado’s next Governor now.

    I’ve thought the Big Line was grossly underestimating McInnis’s chances for some time now, for one simple reason: There’s still a 30-40% chance it’s 1994 again, in which case all non-incumbent Dems in statewide races lose, and even many Dem incumbents previously thought to be safe lose.  My best guess is that it’s not quite 1994 (hence I place the odds at only 30-40% of that sort of nationwide fiasco for the Dems), but that it’s still a fairly bad Dem year — the sort in which case Dems who run mediocre campaigns in “purple” (like Colorado) lose.

    That’s why I wouldn’t view Bennet or Hick as favorites now.  I don’t know whether Bennet or Hick has better odds — Hick is likely to prove a better candidate but Bennet is likely to have a weaker opponent.  But I still have to view each as an underdog, and have to say any Dem who thinks either is a favorite is doing some wishful thinking.

    1. Hick has an uphill battle and needs to get it in gear. McInnis is weak, but Maes, how could win the primary – who knows.

      On the Senate side I’m praying that somehow Norton pulls out a win, because Buck will be formidable and I think should be given odds over Bennet/Romanoff.

      I do think otherwise we’re in good shape – Betsy Markey is pitch perfect. It’s a rough year but she’s damn good. Cary Kennedy & Bernie Beuscher should both finish strong. And Stan Garnett I think will strongly beat Suthers.

      But the marquee races – very worrisome.

      1. … if R’s win what you call the “marquee races” — Gov & Senate — I’m dubious that Dems still can win the down-statewide races. I mean, we know a lot about Garnett and Kennedy and  Buescher — but most folks don’t (neither is a 3-4 term household name), and that level of race usually doesn’t penetrate that deeply into the millions of folks in the electorate.

        If Hick & Bennet lose, either (a) that’ll mean it’s an R wave (in which case down-ticket dems lose identically), or (b) that’ll mean Hick and Bennet didn’t run great races, (in which case their inability to motivate Dem turnout or sway swing voters will drag down the down-ticket dems).

        So I agree that Kennedy, Buescher, and Garnett all are likely to out-campaign their opponents, and even likely out-perform Hick/Bennet.  I just don’t think that if Hick and Bennet lose, down-ticket Dems can swim against the tide of a toxic environment for Dems and/or uninspired races atop the ticket.

      2. “And Stan Garnett I think will strongly beat Suthers.”

        Suthers will not be helped by such words as: “Less than four weeks before Scott Kimball started killing people, then-U.S. Attorney John Suthers signed the order…”

        I smell a 527 ad coming John’s way.

  6. Norton is toast.

    The Maes showing demonstrates that the base is not following orders – which is a gigantic change in the Republican party (and I think a good one for their future). Buck is doing so well Norton was afraid to even try the assembly.

    Buck is a very strong combo – he’s an establishment Republican politician that the tea party has embraced. That will almost certainly trump D.C. political connections and dollars.

    I also think Buck will be a much stronger opponent in the general election – this is not good news for Bennet/Romanoff.

    1. Except he’s not establishment, in the sense that he doesn’t have D.C. connections and dollars or any previous positions in the Republican party except Weld County D.A. He does know a few people like Cheney from his job working on the Iran-Contra scandal, and he has an ivy league eduction, but he has retained his common guy persona. My theory is that this comes from those jobs he worked as a truck driver, janitor, coach, etc.

      You are certainly correct that his legal experience and grassroots support make for a powerful combination that party endorsements and money won’t do much to counteract.

      Also – and I’ve been looking for a place to post this – no one has ever won a statewide campaign who has skipped the assembly entirely. I think the momentum Buck gained today, the visiblity with party activists, and the volunteers/donations generated will soon put an end to Norton’s campaign.

      You’ve said you think this change is good for the Republican Party. Would it really be so bad for you dems to live with a senator like Ken Buck?  

      1. Would I like his votes – not much.

        Would I respect the job he would do there – probably.

        You never know how someone will handle the job until they are there (one of the reasons I supported Bennet over Romanoff). And if he signs up for the Republican toxic just vote no approach, then he just becomes part of the problem.

        But when Armstrong was a Senator, while I never voted for him, I was proud to have him representing our state.

        1. Well I tend to agree with you, like the person who just wrote the article on Maes. I would rather have an honorable Democrat businessman like Hickenlooper running our state than a shady, power hungry Republican like McInnis. I wouldn’t like his votes on a lot of things, but I would feel more comfortable about his leadership. We get caught up so much in left vs. right that sometimes we forget character matters too!

      2. Bruce Benson skipped the gop convention and petitioned on to the ballot, easily winning the Republican primary.  Of course, he then lost the general election to Romer.

    2. I suspect that most GOP primary voters will assume the candidates are listed alphabetically.  I would, if I didn’t know otherwise.

      For the Dems, Romanoff will be listed first, but again, I don’t think most primary voters will understand why that’s so.

        1. You shouldn’t have modeled your TV campaign ads after this guy.

          “Bradford has become a superstar in the committee-room wrangling of the Legislature”.  -Josh Penry

        2. Ali,

          It has been my honor to support your efforts on two campaigns.  Colorado politics is a better place with your honest, straight-forward approach.  

          If only more would dare to speak their hearts rather than merely parroting the results of the latest pols.  Colorado could use many more men and women of such courage.

          As I exit from politics stage right, my time spent with you will always be among my best memories.

          Stay the course, my friend.

          Mike May

        1. .

          because I didn’t take pre-requisites at their school,

          The Hasan School of Business took me and taught me what no other MBA program in the country could –

          how to do business with the Muslim world.  

          Back when I was attending, many years ago, the Hasan School had a full-time recruiter in Asia.  Half of my classmates, and about half of the faculty, were from Muslim-majority countries.  

          I like Ali for what his parents did for me, and for Southern Colorado.

          .

    1. I’ve worked for many different politicans before and Ali was easily the best, most sincere, and morally true that I’ve ever known – I know that he will do well in whatever he does next, (and will be one of the first in line for his next movie).

      Both in public and private, his persona never changed -a rarity in politics these days.

      Since day one, his top concern was what he could do for Colorado and to improve all of our Party’s candidates for office.

      I am proud to have known the Hasan’s and am proud of the campaign he ran.

      His heart will always be with the Republican Party and the people of Colorado.

      -Drew Dougherty, Campaign Manager

      1. And we probably mostly agree with you.

        I count myself among them–virtual though it is–even though I disagree with his policy prescriptions.  I like his attitude.  I like that he comes here to engage us crazies, and is a bit of one himself.  🙂

        And I still owe him a bucket of chicken–although I forget the bet I lost to owe it.

  7. Here’s what Ali Hasan posted on Pols four months ago when I said he wouldn’t make the ballot.

    “We’ll easily get our 30% at the convention – and if we don’t, I’ll buy you dinner Appalachian – and if I do, you owe me dinner hotshot”– Muhammad Ali Hasan (1/27/10 at 23:13 MST)

    Anyway, I hope you’ll channel that energy (and money) into helping GOP candidates win this fall.

    1. Punctuation matters. He wasn’t saying he’d buy you dinner, Appalachian. He was promising he’d buy you dinner Appalachian — which means fricassee squirrel.  

        1. Ali as treasurer would have been a total catastrophe.  He’s a “TABOR4LIFE”{ ideologue who wants to destroy Colorado root and branch, including by supporting all the drown colorado in a bathtub initiatives.  He wants to ruin our highways, close our schools, and basically turn this into BRUCEWORLD.  But that is exactly the nihilistic vision of the Tea Baggers and they loved it in Maes, Buck, and other “Drown the government” guys.

            Their only problem with Ali is that his name was Ali!  If he was a Norwegian and Born Again Christian, they would have b acked him over a responsible conservative like Ament in a heartbeat.

              1. Furthermore – NEVER NEVER NEVER trust a delegate. The only delegate pledge you can count on is the one who shakes your hand, looks you in the eye, and says “I’m voting for the other guy”.  I learned that from the convention master…    

        2. it was the recent push from the Ament campaign that Ali has been lying as well as pushing that he’s only 29 and doesn’t have financial experience…not what I think, it’s what they pushed and it did work to some extent

  8. Josh Penry already said it.

    “Penry pledged he would get on the ballot by assembly and wouldn’t petition on if he didn’t make it because he said the ones at the assembly are the core of the party, the volunteers and if you don’t have them on your side then there must be something wrong with you, a bold move.”

    I wonder if two faced Josh has told Calamity Jane what is wrong with her.

    “Is anyone else here tired of the flimflam, mealy-mouthed Republican?”  –Josh Penry

    1. I think what was said yesterday doesn’t count today.  

      Just because Penry said that a few months ago doesn’t mean it will hold water tomorrow.  You’re supposed to forget about it.  

      Damn those newspapers and their paper trail!  

  9. Shame on Coloradopols for the omission of the biggest story of the day:

    This should have been a sensational story and all you can write is a 1 sentence blurp. No stats, Ken won by 76.5% of the vote showing exactly why Norton had to petition on, she knew she might not make the 10% required to get on the ballot. Without all the advantages the establishment insists you must have to win, Norton had the money, name id, TV & radio ads, the clout of Wash & State legislatures and still would not have got on the ballat via the Assembly process. Then after shunning the process had the nerve to show up and expect a podium to speak to the very people she just shunned. No wonder she was booed out of the place several times.

    Where’s the real reporting? This seems purposefully ignoring the biggest story of the day, I mean this is a U.S. Senate race, don’t you think we the voters should be told the facts?

    1. The fact was that Ken Buck won the Assembly vote with his two biggest opponents sitting on the sidelines in favor of petitioning on. There really isn’t much to report there. If Buck HADN’T won against the folks he was running against at assembly, THAT would have been a story.

      Sorry but the Maes victory was THE story yesterday. Not a race against a group of also rans.

      1. not saying it’s not important — it really is.  I find it funny that apparently the assemblies are only important to Pols for the races they choose.

        Maes victory by <1% = huge story

        Romanoff victory by 21% = not a story at all.

        Did I expect Romanoff to win, sure.  21% is still a huge spread and a major victory.

        1. When the events that happen are not what you expect – it’s news and interesting.  Sun comes up tomorrow- hot and big. So?  It stays up until 11pm. News.

  10. Romanoff didn’t narrowly eek out a victory Saturday — he won a 21 point spread, pushing Bennet below the 40% line — that’s a major victory.

    Bennet continued to slip through the assembly process and finished up yesterday with a poor showing.

    People on here are very quick to go after Romanoff’s campaign as disorganized, underfunded, etc — but the fact remains that Bennet spent a million precaucus and probably at least that much between caucus and the state assembly, and lost support with the Democratic base.  So, if Romanoff’s campaign is as bad as polsters here think it is, Bennet’s campaign must be a complete and total disaster.

    1. Your premise is faulty. Did Bennet’s campaign spend a million dollars aimed specifically at Assembly delegates? If so, my 15-20 personal mailings never arrived.

      No, the Bennet campaign is focused on the broader primary electorate with its money.

      Both campaigns did the minimum that they had to do. Bennet is easily on the ballot and Romanoff did not let him get to 40% or above. If Bennet had slipped down to 31% or 32%, that would have boded poorly. Similarly, if Romanoff had slipped to 55%.

      1. at caucus goers as much as it is assembly goers as much as it is primary voters as much as…you get the point.

        For the most part it’s all untargeted.  Sure you can pick what shows based on demographics or whatnot, but it’s a shotgun approach to voter outreach.  I see the Bennet ads running on CNN — a standard cross section of people.

        Based on all the early 20s kids running around the assembly with red Bennet hats, it looks like they have a large field staff.  Are you implying those staff haven’t been spending their time trying to sway delegates?

        Were you a Bennet supporter at caucus lakewood?  If so, it wouldn’t make much sense to send you direct mail.  As a Romanoff supporter, I definitely saw the effort they were putting into persuading me and my fellow Romanoff supporters to change sides — which clearly didn’t work.

        1. And today is your day for chest-thumping.

          However, unless the cash starts flowing, I think it’s your last good day of the campaign.

          Cash is king now.  You’re not dealing with the people who attend J-J dinners from here on out.

          1. and Romanoff has raised the same amount as Norton and Buck (little less than one, little more than the other).  Clearly he’s raising enough to be competitive with the Republicans.

            So if he can get the message out to the couple hundred thousand that vote in the primary, they can rest assured he’s up for the general.

              1. Bennet burned more primary dollars than he raised last cycle.  He spent just under what he raised total last quarter.  Bennet is burning money at a phenomenal rate — Romanoff is banking cash.  

                1. “for what he’s raising”

                  Bennet spent because he needs name recognition.  He was able to raise enough to cover it easily.

                  This isn’t about rooting, it’s about Romanoff not raising money.

    2. Bennet to do any better than this at Assembly, certainly not him or his campaign.  The people at Assembly are the same people that were at caucuses and county assemblies.  There was no major change here, and nothing to strongly indicate that this outcome will in any way impact the primary vote.

        1. 3500 show up at convention and what they do and how they poll, that’s how the primary goes. As it always was, and always will.

          In fact- that should be the new campaign message – vote for me, I won the caucus/assembly thing and your party insiders have spoken, so do as your told

    3. That is what the results mean. Pretty much exactly that and exactly nothing more. Everything else is whistling past the graveyard. History has shown that winning top line is  not a predictor of the primary’s outcome; instead most quixotic candidates who capture the heart of a state assembly go on to lose the primary.

      That being said, from January to end of March, Romanoff only raised $20,000 more than he spent on a caucus most Romanoff Campers never thought Michael Bennet would even dare play in. That’s called losing the war to win a battle. Meanwhile, Bennet hasn’t spent a million on caucus/assembly. Rather, Bennet’s audience has been in the millions for a couple months now, while Romanoff’s has been in the very low thousands for his entire campaign.

      It’s not-very-complicated math. The assembly was made strategically irrelevant as soon as Bennet created enough of a base to make the ballot while forcing Andrew to break his own bank to keep the faithful with him. Meanwhile Bennet went up on TV to communicate to an audience of millions, during which Romanoff’s campaign has spent all their time and money on a strong assembly win so he could get a good next-day story in which only the same audience of a few thousand take an interest. All this time, Bennet’s campaign has been banking on actually winning the primary and the general by doing what they need to win.

      Hence the 15-point deficit Romanoff is facing in the actual primary.

      But by all means spend all summer complaining about how significant the assembly was.  

      1. Top line is pretty important.  With it and about five bucks, you can get a cup of coffee at starbucks.  If you don’t go in for the fancier permutations, anyway.

          If you’re only second line, you have to buy your coffee at McDonalds, for about a buck, and be satisfied with the fact that Consumer Reports rates it higher than Starbucks.

          So top line is huge.

           

          1. One is on Havana in Aurora and the other on Alameda in Denver.  My son lives in Boston and whenever I visit him there, I swear I could cross the entire city and never be more than a block from one.  I seriously had a guy give me directions in Fall River, Mass, where I went to see the Battleship Massachusetts, who said to head north and turn at the “Dunkin’ DoNuts.)  I found three in a one block area!

            I gotta admit I’d kill for one of their coconut topped donuts.  

            1. Thanks for the info. It’s of great relief.

              It doesn’t matter how posh or how crappy your neighborhood is, in NE there is bound to be a Dunkin’ Donuts within 500 yards of you at all times.  

              1. it seems like the Alameda one is gone.

                But 800 s. havana in aurora is still there and there is another in Littleton.  goggle it and they’ve even provide maps.

                1. are you sure the aurora one or the littleton one still exists?  I love DD but the DD store finder website says none within 50 miles, and the phone numbers that come up when you google the auropra or littleton ones aren’t in service. Anyone been to either recently?

                  1. .

                    call me and I’ll let you buy the first round.

                    I can vouch that at least 1 is still in operation, on West Colorado Ave., having driven past it on Wednesday.

                    .  

                    1. What? My references are just a little bit less sophisticated than everyone else’s.

        1. right here on Pols. Also that it was long predicted, not unexpected, and consistent with most projections.

          What did you expect?  For people to be ‘surprised’ that AR performed as expected?  

          1. that more people would realize that when a sitting senator spends several million and still can’t win the majority of his own party he’s in serious trouble.

            1. Others, people like me who are less naive about political campaigns, will tell you that it only matters if you can turn it into money.

              Seriously.

              It ain’t about rootin’

              It’s about raisin’

              1. So Romanoff has raised about as much as the two Republican candidates, and had a half million on hand as of the end of March.  So in other words Romanoff has raised enough to be competitive.

                1. But you should be out helping him raise money.

                  His “grassroots” support doesn’t matter from here on out.  The only thing that matters is money, and Romanoff has NOT raised enough to be competitive.

                  If he’s any good, he will parlay this victory into money.  If he doesn’t, he has no hope of generating even the illusion of enough interest to win a primary.

                  If you’re any good, you’ll help him.

                  That’s what’s on his plate right now.

                  Free advice.  It’s worth whatever you paid for it.

                2. but you also have to factor in that a lot of his supporters have probably already hit their donation limits so Romanoff has to expand his base to keep is small dollar donations coming in.  That will be the key to Romanoff fund raising and in a crappy economy a tough thing to do.

              2. isn’t it about rootin’? I mean isn’t the goal of a vote to win the majority of people?  Romanoff just showed (again) that he can do that.  Bennet (again) just showed that he can’t.

                1. but, begging to differ with you, he didn’t show (again) that he can win the majority of people.  He showed that he can keep the same activist-type people who supported him since early March in his camp through May.

                  Now he has a different challenge: he has to reach the hundreds of thousands of Democratic primary voters who haven’t been involved much in the process so far.  These are people who might not remember him, or might not remember him well; they don’t have much of a horse in the race so far and he has to win their vote.

                  That’s why today is a relatively minor headline for Andrew and his campaign – because we could have (and did) write this headline months ago – nothing shocking here, folks.

        2. Problem is, it’s only important to the people who care…and a statistically insignificant amount of people actually do. It’s not some unfair “rule” that the only people who care are the people who go to assembly. But it’s a fact. People who cling to the hope that getting topline will be a persuader with the overall primary-voting population are guilty of what we should begin calling the Romanoff Fallacy.

          Will Romanoff’s double-digit assembly victory lead to more money? Doubt it. Has it dented Bennet’s momentum in any significant way? No. Will it cover up the 15-point gap he faces in primary polling? Absolutely not. Will it fix the internal problems the campaign has demonstrated by poor fundraising, no TV capacity, and a self-abusive communications operation? Probably just the opposite.

          This is about math, not good or bad feelings on one or both sides. Romanoff came out of the caucus demonstrating a committed base of about 11,500 Colorado Democrats — versus about 9,600 for Bennet. Where is the evidence that since then Romanoff’s base has been growing, or even that his campaign has been reaching an audience outside of that base? Without such evidence, what is the argument that Romanoff is now well positioned to win the primary?

          Try responding by making a case for once, instead of bitching and moaning.  

          1. 1) there hasn’t been a reporting quarter since just after the caucus, so we don’t know if money has improved.

            2) The assembly win is giving Romanoff another round of good press (and Bennet another round of bad press).

            3) The assembly win for Romanoff shows that Bennet isn’t gaining momentum at all, and in fact cannot even win a small contest of the most active Dems, let alone knows how to run a larger operation.

            1. And here it is: Bennet has been up on TV for months now. Romanoff hasn’t. Guess who now has the name recognition advantage less than two months before ballots drop?

              1) You’re right. However, given two straight quarters of lackluster performance (heck, Betsy Markey outraised Romanoff by over $100,000 in the first quarter), what has changed that would have turned on the faucet? What new base of support has he been able to communicate with, let alone tap into for support?

              2) This gets back to my earlier point. Romanoff’s campaign has been solely focused on caucus/assembly, and its minute audience of insider process junkies. And for what? One day of warm fuzzies and one cycle of earned media that is competing with the GOP assembly stories, not to mention a barnbuster of a story that will probably unseat the GOP attorney general. How can that compete with months of TV buys? How does the assembly win parlay into electoral victory?

              3) Again – this shows wanting archaic party process to be determinative is much different from that actually being reality. Here’s the problem for Romanoff’s brain trust: political history and basic mathematics show that assembly (process) has little to no bearing on primary results (goal). This disconnect will feel pretty real in about a week when they figure out they should have been trying to communicate to primary voters all along, and Bennet has a massive head start. Meanwhile, what press is Romanoff going to be able to earn? The innuendo stuff isn’t getting the job done.  

    4. Does anyone remember what Mike Miles’ margin of victory was over Ken Salazar in the 2004 State Assembly?  I can’t seem to find it online?  But I don’t remember it being very big.

        1. and Romanoff made the point that his 20-point margin means the comparisons with Miles don’t hold water. That and his history winning elections, which Miles didn’t have.

            1. How about those?  Romanoff went and stumped for candidates around the state to build the first democratic majority in a generation.  He also teamed up with Cary Kennedy and others to fight to pass Ref C, which saved the state economy.

              I think those are two good examples.

              1. Not to mention he won four in a row to get and keep his seat in the CO House.

                Ref C needed D support to be sure – but I always saw the numbers as it passed because  it got just enough R support. And I think that was more Owens and other big name R’s.

                Either way I think it hurts AR in the general.

                I don’t deny that AR has made a major contribution to the D party in Colorado.  A factor that I think also hurts him in a 2010 general.  

                I also don’t deny he’s smart and give decent speeches.  I don’t think that’s the real issue this cycle.  

    5. you saw two starkly different candidates for US Senate, with unmistakable differences in knowledge, skills and appeal.  Bennet’s campaign has been working (and spending tons of money) between caucus and the state assembly to sway votes his way.  There has been constant criticism here of Romanoff and his campaign.  I have no way to measure this but my guess is that if there was any temporary erosion in support for Romanoff between caucuses and Saturday, he more than made up for that erosion through his amazing presentation at the assembly.  

      So, Bennet has incumbency, Bennet has tons of money, Bennet has the support of the Administration, Bennet has had TV, and Bennet has had 16 months to win support from the Party faithful and voters in general.  But, Romanoff remains the stronger candidate by far.

      1. Romanoff is the better speaker, and has had more time and opportunity to cultivate more loyalty among the statewide Democratic base, which he has done to a very impressive degree (a fact which has always tempered my dissatisfaction with his campaign). The intense loyalty of so many people who have worked so closely with him does say something very positive about him.

        Bennet, in my opinion, is the more talented of the two on both policy, and in answering questions in a way which neither panders nor insults (a quality which particularly impresses me), so I don’t quite agree with your sweeping assessment regarding “differences in knowledge, skills and appeal” if, by that, you mean that the speeches and the crowd reaction prove that those go to Romanoff; Appeal, maybe. Knowledge and skill, in general, I don’t think so.

        Romanoff did something for the first time (to my knowledge) on Saturday, and that is encourage his followers to support whoever wins the primary (both in his speach, and at the Labor Initiative reception afterward, emphasizing that he was going to repeat it every time he speaks from now on). I was very glad to hear that.

        Who the better candidate is? We’ll just have to wait and see.

        1. This is not new.  My husband, also at the Assembly, noticed that Bennet did not make the same statement in his presentation.  Romanoff has been clear on this.  

          I have heard Romanoff speak a number of times.  His depth and breadth of knowledge on policy issues is clear, and he communicates the intricacies of those issues well.  

          1. It’s the first time I’ve heard Romanoff say that. He may well have said it before, but he was 0 for about 10 for me up until yesterday. Bennet almost always says something positive about Romanoff (I don’t recall if he did yesterday or not; I was also out and about talking with people during the speeches), though, you may be right, I don’t recall him saying anything specific about supporting whoever wins the primary. In terms of which campaign has expressed more good will and which more ill will, I personally don’t think it’s even close, but, apparently, others have other perceptions.

            Our opinions are different regarding who has more depth and breadth of knowledge. I was only stating mine. I’ve heard each speak numerous times, I’ve listened to each carefully, and, to me, Bennet has a more nuanced understanding of policy issues. There is no debate to be had over the fact that that is my opinion, just as there is no debate to be had over the fact that you have a different one. Fair enough?

            1. tell his suporters to support Bennet (if Bennet wins the primary) on more than one occasion.

              I also thought his speech at the assembly was very powerful. Of course, I am biased because I have known and worked with Andrew a long time and I am always impressed with his communication skills, his dedication to his constituency, and his learning ability.

              I also happen to believe his commitment to his grass roots, populist campaign is completely genuine. I have talked with him about this at length. I am completely convinced that the old conventional wisdom of “he who has the most cash, wins the dash” is misguided.

              I believe it was Goldeneye who said a couple of days ago that we are in uncharted territory in this election cycle. I agree.

              The influence of “Big Money” on our elections is a national disgrace and I am one of those who believes the only way to change the system is from the outside.

              I heard Andrew say a couple of weeks ago that, while he readily admits he has taken PAC money in the past, he will not in the future, even after he wins the primary.

              His supporters will hold him to that promise.  

               

              1. But this situation is exactly analogous to unilateral disarmament: No one does it because, rather than accomplish the desired goal, it merely leads to the defeat of the one unilaterally disarming. This is why I emphatically do not want the Democratic candidate in the general election to refuse PAC money, promise or no promise. We would be giving away that senate seat.

                I don’t have, and have never had, any passionate investment in this primary, or in either of the candidates over the other. I like and respect them both, and would be very happy to support either one in the general election. I have my opinions and observations, which are about as untainted by predisposition (about the two individuals themselves) as any opinions and observations expressed on this blog on this topic.

                If others have frequently heard Andrew tell his supporters to support whoever wins the primary, then it must simply be a matter of chance that in the several times I’ve heard Andrew speak, I haven’t heard, or somehow missed, him saying that on every occasion.

      2. Gee do you think that voters can gage where Bennet stands on the issues and what he is doing on the Senate Education Committee without you pointing out that his incumbency advantage means he voted for Democratic values in one of the most important votes in recent Senate history.  How can Romanoff claim any such similar experiences?  Doing it and getting it done matter and Bennet has been part of the Democratic effort to turn this country around and that means a lot to me.  I want this to be a continuity election and return Betsy Markey and Michael Bennet to Washington to continue to move our country towards a more sustainable and renewable world.

        1. I included incumbency in the (partial) list of the many advantages that Bennet has.  But in spite of those many advantages – and in spite of the desire of many for continuity – Bennet has not won over the majority of Dem activists and loyalists.  I believe this is a problem, and for me, an indicator that his strength of leadership is not what it needs to be.

          Both Romanoff and Bennet are fine, talented people, but we need a strong leader to stand up to the banksters in Washington, to stand up to the polluters, and to stand up to the same old ways that no longer work for the majority of Americans.

          1. I believe that Bennets actions speak well of the man and he has a chance to improve his performance as he gains experience.  I guess that doesn’t count as leadership to you but I think it does.

            The match up if much more favorable to Democrats if it is portrayed as continuity versus change.  To have two change candidates encourages more radical change and you could be saying Senator Buck/Allard.  Is that what you want?  All this talk about change/change/change is coming from Republicans precisely because they want people to be dissatisfied with the current policies and agenda.  They haven’t offered a better vision for getting to a more sustainable world.  All they offer is change and you encourage that mindset by rejecting what Bennet has to offer which is incumbency and actual on the job experience.

            Just because Bennet hasn’t been in state politics for the last decade doesn’t mean that the party faithful don’t respect his votes.  Why would the party insiders move to Bennet when they have rubbed elbows with Romanoff for years?  Insider loyalty is tilted towards Romanoff but they will rally around Bennet they same way Clinton supporters rallied around Obama to defeat Palin/Old Fart.

            I just hope Romanoff and his supporters don’t go nasty negative if Bennet starts leading in the polls.  Romanoff has run a clean campaign so far but he should take great pains to not ruin Bennets chances if Bennet is the nominee.  I don’t see Bennet going all Republican on Romanoff but would be just as disappointed if he did.  The real fireworks should be on the Republican side where they destroy each other trying to win the primary.  Let them smear each other.

  11. I was at the state assembly on Saturday, as a Bennet delegate. I’ve been more active at SquareState, but I thought I’d swing by and reactivate my account.

    Anyway, no surprise – I tend to agree with MADCO, Ralphie, &c in thinking that Saturday was the last good Romanoff’s going to have in this primary campaign.

    I think the advantages in ground organization and money are going to be far too great, and there’s just not enough time left for Romanoff to translate his caucus organization into a viable field organization for the mail-in primary.

    For what it’s worth, I think it’s kind of hilarious that Romanoff is spinning his expected win at the assembly as an outsider’s grassroots triumph:

    In the runup to Todays vote, Bennet allies fought to downplay its importance — noting that the winner of the convention rarely goes on to win the party nomination in the primary.

    Romanoff, on the other hand, painted the assembly win as a sign of his grassroots strength and further evidence that voters were rejecting the insider profile of Bennet.

    (emphasis added)

    Considering that Andrew Romanoff was a DNC Committeeman, state representative for eight years, Speaker of the Colorado House for the last four years of that tenure, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s Colorado campaign, and a DLC posterboy, it’s awfully gymnastic of him to paint Bennet as an insider.

    Moreover, for someone who was traditionally assumed to be a cautious, moderate, consensus-seeking Speaker, he seems to be taking a lot of credit for the success that Democrats have enjoyed since 2004.

    To hear him tell it on Saturday, had he not come onto the scene, Democrats would still be in the minority, and Referendum C would never have been thought of, let alone passed. That assertion ignores the role of the Democratic grassroots and members of the Democratic caucus who were often much more aggressive in pushing legislation.

    Oh, and for someone who’s repeatedly defended the 2006 immigration laws (the worst until Arizona’s) as a necessary compromise, he sure didn’t have any problems condemning the compromises that saw health care reform, student loan reform and likely, financial reform take place.

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