When is Bennet’s “Term” Officially Over?

UPDATE: Bennet’s campaign tells the Wall Street Journal’s anonymous source “thanks for speculating” in a report at the Denver newspaper today, but he’ll be serving his full term regardless of what happens in November. And the Secretary of State’s spokesman Rich Coolidge confirms that Bennet’s term runs until the next Congress is sworn in January–assuming the relevancy of the question to begin with, naturally.

A nice rumor to plant, but Karl Rove doesn’t need any more reasons to spend money here.


Interesting blog post today at the Wall Street Journal regarding Sen. Michael Bennet and speculation about a potential lame-duck session of Congress after Election Day:

There seems to be a dispute brewing over when Colorado’s new U.S. senator would take his seat, at least if Republican Ken Buck beats incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet in November.

State officials tell Washington Wire the new senator would be sworn in on Jan. 3, with the new Congress. But Republican officials say the state law indicates that Bennet’s term, since he was appointed to fill a vacancy, should actually end immediately after the election.

Four other Democratic Senators who were appointed to their current posts are also up for re-election this year, so we’ll likely be hearing more about this at some point. In the meantime, are there any election law Polsters out there who can tell us the Colorado answer? Whether or not Bennet is re-elected, technically there is an end date on his current term, right?

As confusing as this may be, it could be worse — we could be in Illinois:

In Obama’s old Senate seat in Illinois, where the term of appointed Sen. Roland Burris ends after the election, voters will actually vote twice in that race in November – to fill the final weeks of Obama’s unexpired term and then for the new Senate term starting in January.

Who Will Win the U.S. Senate Race?

Okay, Polsters, it’s time to start counting down the weeks to Election Day by asking you who you think is going to win the race for U.S. Senate. We’ll keep doing these polls until Election Day to help us all get a sense for how perception of various races are changing (or not).

Remember, we want to know what you believe will happen, not what you might want to happen. To repeat our usual description, if you had to bet everything you owned on the outcome of this race, who would you pick?

Who Will Win the U.S. Senate Race?

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Bennet Leads Buck as Third Party Candidates Pull Votes

New bipartisan polling data released today shows the U.S. Senate race to be a dead heat, while the race for Governor is what we all thought it was — in the bag for Democrat John Hickenlooper.

According to the polling memo, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet leads Republican Ken Buck 43-40, while Hickenlooper (48%) is running away with the Governor’s race over both Republican Dan Maes (25%) and American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo (15%):

A recently conducted survey of Colorado voters conducted by the bi-partisan research team of Lori Weigel of Public Opinion Strategies (R) and David Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (D) highlights two very different races at the “top of the ticket” in Colorado. The results of the survey show a dead heat for U.S. Senate with Republican Ken Buck and Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet’s support within margin of error of the other (43% Bennet and 40% Buck). The data also shows how general antipathy toward both parties is having an impact on electoral politics this year, as a Libertarian candidate garners 5% of the vote – greater than the margin between the two major party candidates.

“The anti-Washington sentiment and general political environment would seemingly be working against Bennet,” stated Lori Weigel. “Incumbents tend to receive what they see in the polling, with undecided voters more likely to opt for change. However, this year, with disgust at politics and both parties running high, we have the potential for relatively unknown third party candidates to siphon off enough votes to change traditional campaign dynamics.” [Pols emphasis]

That last quote from Weigel is what we were talking about last week when we said that any poll in CD-4 that doesn’t include the third-party candidates on the ballot is inaccurate. Also particularly interesting to note is that the poll shows 85% of Democrats backing Bennet but only 76% supporting Buck, which is understandable given Buck’s far-right positions on many issues.

As for the Governor’s race:

The gubernatorial race appears to be a foregone conclusion, barring a fundamental shift in the race dynamics. Democrat John Hickenlooper is capturing 48% of the statewide vote, compared to just 25% opting for Republican Dan Maes and 15% selecting Tom Tancredo, running on the American Constitution Party label. Whether Tancredo is siphoning off GOP support that could have been available, or whether Maes’ self-inflicted wounds have boosted Tancredo’s support is open to interpretation. However, the former Congressman’s presence on the ballot and Maes’ continued problems appear to have all but sealed Democratic retention of the Governor’s mansion…

…Even before all of the prominent withdrawals of endorsements, rank and file Republicans’ support for their party’s nominee was tepid. Just 50% of Republicans say they would vote for Maes if the election was being held today, while 24% defect to Tancredo and 12% to Hickenlooper. This stands in stark contrast to Hickenlooper’s support within his party, as 84% of Democrats choose their party’s nominee for Governor.

Rasmussen Tightens Senate Race

Last Wednesday’s Ipsos poll showing GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck up by nine points over Democrat Michael Bennet widened a lot of smiles on the right side of the aisle–Republican-friendly polling firm Rasmussen Reports sobers them up today.

The U.S. Senate race in Colorado between incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennet and Republican challenger Ken Buck remains very competitive.

The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Buck picking up 47% support, while Bennet earns the vote from 44%. Five percent (5%) prefer another candidate while four percent (4%) are undecided. Earlier this month, it was Buck 46% and Bennet 41%.

Though Buck has consistently led the incumbent since March, this is the highest level of support Bennet has received all year. [Pols emphasis] In each of six previous surveys stretching back to May, the former Denver school superintendent had earned between 39% and 42% of the vote. Bennet was named to the Senate early last year when Ken Salazar resigned to join President Obama’s Cabinet. A county prosecutor, Buck has captured between 44% to 48% of the vote during that same time frame…

We’ve always said that polling done more than four months out of an election is relatively worthless, but now that we’re nearing the 60 days until E-Day mark (Sept. 4, if you’re counting), respondents are starting to voice opinions based as much on the candidates as on their Party affiliation. Case in point, check out the changing Very Favorable/Very Unfavorable numbers from a few weeks ago:

Candidate 8/12 VF/VUF 8/30 VF/VUF
Ken Buck 17%/ 20% 19%/ 26%
Michael Bennet 20%/ 29% 21%/ 30%

What the Very Favorable/Unfavorable numbers show is that Buck’s overall lead is based largely on the generic Republican/anti-incumbent advantage that has shown up in polls throughout the year. But voters don’t actually like Ken Buck the candidate the more they get to know him (nor do they really like Michael Bennet, either). The bottom line is that this race is going to come down to the wire.

Social Security: Republican Kryptonite?

As our friends at “The Fix” note today:

The back and forth on the [Social Security] issue in Nevada is a microcosm of what Democrats hope will be a broader debate in races around the country about what to do next on Social Security.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary, which is tomorrow, of Social Security becoming law, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has released a scorecard documenting 13 Republican Senate candidates who have expressed support for some form of privatization of the retirement system…

…Social Security is always a potent political issue but especially so in midterm elections where older voters — to whom this issue is of critical importance — comprise a larger segment of the overall electorate. (Older voters always vote.)

President George W. Bush’s failure to pass a reform of the system played a role — how much of one can be debated — in the Democratic takeover of the House and Senate in 2006 and Democrats are hoping it will mitigate their expected losses in this midterm.

We have long included Social Security as an issue that would come back to bite Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck, and it looks like Democrats are planning on playing that angle as much as possible.

While it may have made sense for Buck to go after Social Security while trying to woo Tea Party support for a Republican Primary, it’s not helpful to have statements like these on the record in a General Election:

At a March forum, he drew hearty applause after calling Social Security “horrible, bad policy” and questioning whether the federal government should be involved in administering it.

“I don’t know whether it’s constitutional or not; it is certainly a horrible policy,” Buck said. “The idea that the federal government should be running health care or retirement or any of those programs is fundamentally against what I believe. And that is that the private sector runs programs like that far better.”

The ads write themselves: Vote for Ken Buck, and kiss Social Security goodbye! Anti-government conservatives may think this is great, but swing-voting senior citizens who rely on Social Security for their retirement? Not so much.

Democrats Hold Hands, Sing Kumbaya, Share Cookies and Milk

The Democratic “Unity” Rally was held this afternoon in Denver to show that things were just hunky-dorey for Sen. Michael Bennet and former challenger Andrew Romanoff (full press release from the Bennet campaign and from Colorado Democrats after the jump).

Said Romanoff:

“I am very, very proud of our grassroots team, and proud to see so many folks standing with us together in this united Democratic Party today. For not just my sake, and not Michael’s sake, and not even for the sake of the Democratic Party, I’m asking you today to throw your support fully and unequivocally behind Michael Bennet for the United States Senate.”

This is all pretty standard stuff in terms of the Kumbaya atmosphere, which makes it all the more curious that Colorado Republicans don’t seem prepared to do the same thing just yet. Heck, GOP Gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes apparently can’t even get a phone call right now from other Republicans.

Bennet Campaign Press Release:

Supporters of Andrew Romanoff and Michael Bennet filled the lawn of the state Capitol building today as the former rivals came together in a united front, pledging to work together as sights turn toward November. Two days after Michael won the Colorado Democratic Senate primary, Speaker Romanoff rallied supporters of his campaign to support Michael and asked them to do everything in their power to keep Michael in the Senate.

“I am very, very proud of our grassroots team, and proud to see so many folks standing with us together in this united Democratic Party today,” said Romanoff.  “For not just my sake, and not Michael’s sake, and not even for the sake of the Democratic Party, I’m asking you today to throw your support fully and unequivocally behind Michael Bennet for the United States Senate.”

Following the Speaker’s sincere and gracious speech, Michael Bennet addressed the crowd of supporters gathered at the Capitol. Michael spoke to Romanoff’s supporters, volunteers, and staff, promising to work hard to earn their support.

Michael went on to say, “Andrew’s legacy within the Democratic Party runs deep and will only continue on in the years to come. He is a man who has given his time and talents to this state, its people and our party, and Colorado is a better place for having Andrew as a leader.”

For the past year, Michael and Speaker Romanoff competed in a spirited primary that challenged both candidates to build an extensive grassroots network, cultivate a fundraising base, and develop the type of campaign organization essential to winning in November. Michael’s campaign, Bennet for Colorado, has emerged a stronger, battle-tested organization as a result of Speaker Romanoff’s challenge.

Michael closed the rally highlighting several key issues on which he and his Republican opponent Ken Buck clearly disagree. Michael vowed to reject ideological extremes in favor of common-sense solutions informed by his unique, real-world experience saving jobs, balancing budgets and reforming public schools – experience that has separated him from every other candidate in the race since the beginning.  

In closing, Michael and Speaker Romanoff both drew clear distinctions between the extreme positions Ken Buck represents and the solutions for Colorado that Michael is fighting for everyday.  

“The end that we share is a better quality of life, a higher standard of living, a cleaner and healthier environment, more affordable healthcare, stronger schools, more jobs,” said Romanoff. “Those goals, which we share, will better be advanced by Michael Bennet than any other candidate in this race. It is an easy call for me, and it should be an easy call for all of you as well.”

These points were echoed by Michael,”As we face the most savage economy since the Great Depression, we must look at providing a better education for our kids, and as we tackle the out-of-control spending that stands to saddle generations to come with debt, there is a serious debate to be had about how we bring about solutions. Because the opponent we’re facing this fall believes in efforts that are simply too extreme for Colorado.”

Colorado Democratic Party Press Release

The Colorado Democratic Party celebrated Democratic candidates statewide today during a unity rally in front of the state capitol building. Democratic elected officials and candidates alike came together and pledged to support each other’s campaigns. Senator Michael Bennet and Former Speaker Andrew Romanoff appeared together. Governor Tim Kaine, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC),  Senator Mark Udall, Senator Michael Bennet, Former Speaker Andrew Romanoff, Congressman Ed Perlmutter, Lt. Governor Barbara O’Brien, State Treasurer Cary Kennedy, Attorney General Candidate Stan Garnett, House Speaker Terrance Carroll, Senate President Brandon Shaffer, Lt. Governor Candidate Joe Garcia, CD 6 Candidate John Flerlage, CU Regent Candidate Melissa Hart, CDP Chair Pat Waak and many more were present during the rally.

Below are remarks from Democratic officials statewide:

Senator Mark Udall stated, “Michael has spent his life outside of politics, he has turned around struggling companies and turned around failing schools, those skills and experiences are desperately needed in Washington. He has been a strong and effective voice for solving problems and putting aside political games. Having earned voters’ support and the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, I am confident Michael is the best choice for Colorado and the partner I need in the Senate.  I look forward to campaigning with Michael in the coming months so we can continue our partnership working on behalf of the people of Colorado.”

“Colorado Democrats this year are fired up and ready to go,” said Congressman Ed Perlmutter.  “Democrats want to drive this country forward in getting people back to work and toward economic stability, unlike the Republicans who want to put the gears in reverse and go back to the Bush failed policies and Wall Street free-for-all.  The bottom line is they are in disarray and divided, and we are united.”

Congresswoman Diana DeGette said, “Throughout their careers both Michael and Andrew have served the people of Colorado admirably. Now, thanks to our democracy, they can bring together their shared passion and leadership, to make sure we keep our delegation strong to fight for Colorado.”

State Treasurer Cary Kennedy said, “Over the past year, two amazingly talented, caring and dedicated men have shown us how deeply they care about our state and how deeply they care about us — the people who call Colorado their home. That passion can inspire us in the months ahead as we work together to continue to make Colorado such a wonderful place to live.”

“Democrats and all Coloradans are lucky to have such talented public servants willing to step up. It is going to take Democrats working together to make sure we have a government that is accountable and transparent to the citizens. We can’t afford to return to failed leadership of the Bush-Cheney era,” stated Speaker Terrance Carroll. “As the outgoing Speaker, I am so pleased to look around and see what the future of the state house looks like — we look like Colorado, we Democrats ARE Colorado!  We are Black, Latino and White, straight and gay, younger and older, men and women working together for jobs and a strong economy.”

Senate President Brandon Shaffer stated, “This has been a primary season in which everyone has worked very hard for their favorite candidate.  Now it’s time to unite behind our Democratic nominees.  I know we can and I know we will.”

“We are united and will harness the energy of the primary to elect our candidates up and down the ticket,” stated Pat Waak, Colorado Democratic Party Chair.

Why Bennet Beat Romanoff

We’re playing a little bit of catch-up in providing our analysis of the various different outcomes from Tuesday’s Primary. Spurred on by a good Politico story today from David Catanese, here’s our thoughts on how and why Sen. Michael Bennet defeated Andrew Romanoff in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary…

In his Politico story, Catanese lays out a couple of major reasons why Bennet beat Romanoff: 1) Fundraising, 2) Fundamentals, 3) Romanoff’s messaging, 4) President Obama’s support, and, which Catanese writes was most important, 5) The lack of policy differences between Bennet and Romanoff. These are all strong arguments, and we agree with all of them. But here’s what we think made the difference, in order of importance:

1. The Fundamentals of Ballot Chasing

In an election that saw record turnout, due in no small part to the mostly all-mail ballot voting, the core difference was Bennet’s superior ground operation. Because this race seemed to be coming down to the wire in the last week, it’s easy to forget that it was not all that close in the end; Bennet won by an 8-point margin, with a difference of more than 28,000 votes separating the candidates.

Some of the Bennet advantage here came down to fundraising, because his campaign was able to spend more money on staff without having to cut back on TV time. Both campaigns had a lot of volunteer help, but many of Romanoff’s top field organizers were largely volunteers, because Romanoff needed every penny he could save for television. But whatever the reason, Bennet’s camp had a stronger top-down ballot chase organization, as Politico notes:

“Frankly, it’s just the fundamentals. People help support what they help to create. We brought people in on the ground level and gave them ownership and accountability. People want to meet hard goals and they will because it feels good to meet them,” said a Bennet aide, referring to the 500,000 attempted calls staffers made between July 19 and Aug. 10…

…Romanoff did not produce the margin he needed out of his base in Denver County, where he only bested Bennet by six percentage points.

“Romanoff needed to win Pueblo and Denver County by really, really large margins,” observed Mike Stratton, a longtime Democratic strategist who supported Bennet and directed the campaigns of former Sens. Ken Salazar and Gary Hart.

By last Wednesday, about two-thirds of Democratic ballots had already been cast. Those first 200,000 Democratic voters equaled the number of voters who cast ballots in the entire 2008 Democratic Primary (which did not have a statewide Primary contest), which meant that the last 140-some thousand votes were probably being cast by (mostly) new voters. Bennet’s campaign identified their supporters and turned them out to vote in better numbers than Romanoff, which helped them overcome a late negative story from The New York Times.

2. Messaging

Romanoff had been in the race for three solid months before he came out with even a small semblance of a message. It wasn’t until late December/early January that he really started pushing his “No PAC Money” message, and it wasn’t a strong-enough issue on its own to win him the election. A “no PAC money” pledge should be a secondary message – not the basis of an entire campaign – because it’s more of an inside baseball approach; the average Primary voter is not generally more informed than the average General Election voter, most of whom probably have no idea what “PAC” even stands for.

As Politico writes:

In the closing two weeks of the campaign, Romanoff appeared to be gaining some ground with his fusillade of attacks, targeting Bennet’s campaign contributions, business dealings and record as Denver school superintendent. But – to the Bennet campaign’s surprise and relief – he never pivoted to a positive message, which left late-deciding voters and fence sitters with a bitter taste…

…But the biggest factor in Romanoff’s failure to gain more ground was that despite the acrimonious back-and-forth between him and Bennet, the policy differences between them never seemed to be substantial.

It’s a fundamental rule of politics that in any campaign against an incumbent, you must both “make the case to fire” and “make the case to hire.” Romanoff never really completed either argument; he came the closest to making the “case to fire” argument, but he certainly never fully made the case why he was a better choice than Bennet. It was a recurring question that came up time and time again in the race, a question which Romanoff never had a good answer for: “What would you do differently?”

To this end, Romanoff also failed at promoting himself in a positive light. Even if his commercials convinced you that Bennet was a bad choice, they never fully explained why Romanoff was a good choice instead. The 2004 re-election campaign of President George W. Bush is a good example of doing this strategically; in late September and early October, Bush’s ads were all about how John Kerry was a terrible candidate. But in the last 2-3 weeks of the campaign, the tone shifted into positive ads about how Bush was the kind of guy you could have a beer with. Romanoff never made that shift, and it cost him.

And finally, where messaging is concerned, Romanoff went one step too far in the negative campaigning. His “Greed” ad that accused Bennet of “looting companies and forcing them into bankruptcy” was widely condemned, and it absolutely backfired. The over-the-top rhetoric in the ad made Romanoff look like a caricature of the same sleazy politician who will say anything to win – an image that was in sharp contrast to what he had tried to portray for months. It’s always a bad sign when the discussion is more about whether your ad is unfairly negative than it is about the message you were trying to convey.

3. Romanoff Got Mired In Too Many Details

The much-discussed New York Times article that was critical of Bennet’s financial decisions while he was Superintendent of Denver Public Schools is a prime example of this. There’s no question that the story was bad for Bennet, and there’s also no question that the timing of it wasn’t ideal; by the time the article ran late last week, there wasn’t enough time left for Romanoff to show it to voters. But even if that story had hit a week or two earlier, it’s hard to say what it would have done because it was just too complicated for the average voter to understand. Financial derivatives are not exactly the best fodder for a negative ad.

But this wasn’t the only example of Romanoff getting stuck in the details. We still remember his campaign statement on the re-election of Omar al-Bashir as President of Sudan because it was typical Romanoff: Too much policy, not enough politics. While Bennet was in the middle of discussions on financial, health care and energy reform in the Senate, Romanoff was putting out statements on his position on the President of a country that half of voters probably never even heard of before.

And then there was the long, drawn-out and unsuccessful attack on Bennet for taking money from Westwood College that was made to look like a bribe by Romanoff’s campaign. In the end, it wasn’t even clear what vote we were supposed to be angry about, and Westwood College even said that Bennet didn’t vote the way they wanted anyway.

Romanoff also seemed unable to properly manage his time and efforts. For example, he wrote a long Op-Ed disputing a Washington Post column by Dana Milbank in which he did a point-by-point rebuttal. That’s great if you’re on the debate team, but you don’t have time to respond to every single critic when you are a U.S. Senate candidate.

4. Fundraising

Bennet has proved to be a prolific fundraiser, and his huge cash advantage meant that he didn’t have to make the same difficult choices that Romanoff had to make.  As we wrote above, Romanoff didn’t have the luxury of being able to fund a full staff and a significant television buy, and that left him at a huge disadvantage when it came to the ballot chase.

Romanoff’s lack of fundraising also kept his challenge largely off the national radar, because every time you looked at Colorado’s quarterly reports, you saw a huge disparity between the two candidates. Raising money is an important way to prove to other big donors that you are worth a check from them because you really might be able to win. Romanoff needed that kind of momentum much earlier in the campaign; when it finally came in the last few weeks, it was too little, too late.

Once the ballots were being counted, the things that killed the Romanoff campaign were the same things that had doomed it from the start. He never had a real reason for why he would be different than Bennet, he was never able to raise much money, and both of those problems combined to prevent him from putting a complete campaign together.

As for Bennet, while he probably should have done more to attack Romanoff early and derail any potential momentum later, his campaign played it by the books; they did what they needed to do, and they did it well.

Prediction Time!

Make your predictions below on who you think will win the big statewide Primary races. Get them in before 7:00 tonight to make sure you get full bragging rights for a correct answer, and we’ll think up some sort of prize for the person who makes the most correct predictions.


  • U.S. Senate (Democrats)

  • U.S. Senate (Republicans)

  • Governor (Republicans)

  • Treasurer (Republicans)
  • Tiebraker: The total number of votes cast in the Republican Primary for Treasurer.

    Make sure to put your predictions in a numerical, percentages format. For example: Walker Stapleton over J.J. Ament, 54-46

    Last Ballot Return Numbers Before Voting Ends

    We thought we’d again start a new thread with this information (click for the earlier post), now that we’ve got the latest (and last) update from the Secretary of State’s office on ballot returns. Here are the ballot return numbers as of 3:00 p.m. today:

    *Party/ Ballots Returned Thus Far/ Total Active Voters/ Percent Returned

    Democrats: 310,671/ 817,458/ 38%

    Republicans: 358,953/ 855,667/ 42%

    As we wrote earlier, these numbers have already smashed previous turnout figures for a Primary Election in Colorado, and they don’t include turnout for El Paso and Weld Counties (which were not all-mail ballot counties). This could very well mean that Michael Bennet and Jane Norton will be the winners of their respective primaries because of their name ID advantage. We’d say the same thing for Scott McInnis in the Governor’s race, but we have a feeling the undervote in that one will be huge.  

    Tuesday Ballot Returns: Great News for Better-Known Candidates

    UPDATE #2: More interesting voter trends from Magellan Strategies, a Republican polling and consulting firm, show that at least 28% of Republicans and 32.5% of Democrats that have voted thus far are casting a ballot for the first time in a Primary Election.


    UPDATE: In 1998, Colorado saw primaries on both the Democratic and Republican sides, for both U.S. Senate and Governor. Turnout in the 1998 Primary was 25.5% for Republicans and 19.7% for Democrats, so we are well into record territory here.


    Kudos to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, which is going above and beyond the call of duty in reporting ballot returns early today. The numbers below are as of Noon, while a second report will come out after 3:00 p.m.

    *Party/ Ballots Returned Thus Far/ Total Active Voters/ Percent Returned

    Democrats: 298,062/ 817,458/ 36%

    Republicans: 340,788/ 855,667/ 40%

    Considering that El Paso and Weld Counties are two of those that are not conducting all-mail balloting in Colorado, it’s safe to say that these numbers are going to rise significantly. This is really good news for the campaigns of Sen. Michael Bennet, Jane Norton, and Scott McInnis, because (as we’ve said repeatedly) the more well-known candidates almost always benefit from higher than normal turnout. Both Democrats and Republicans are voting in record numbers, easily surpassing turnout from any of the three previous Primary races.

    The one caveat here is on the Republican side, where there have been rumblings for weeks of Republicans undervoting on their ballots. So while it’s true that a record number of Republicans are returning their ballot, it may not be true that a record number of people are actually voting in the Senate or Governor Primary. We’d say it’s more likely that people are undervoting the Governor’s race than the Senate race, but the point here is that these returns may not mean as much for McInnis as they will for Bennet.

    Richard Coolidge, the Public Information Officer for the SOS Office, also included these handy tips with today’s report:

    The question is “When” not “If” provisional ballots are counted. Primary night results are only an initial tabulation. The OFFICIAL count is due 13 days after the primary when the canvass board meets and reviews the votes. This 13 days allows time to verify provisional ballots and time for overseas military ballots to arrive (8-day extension for these ballots).

    When will results be posted? Clerks are allowed to process ballots 15 days before the election. For the most part, counties will have most ballots cast up until Monday-ish processed and ready for tabulation after 7:00pm tonight. The rest of the results will be forthcoming. Obviously, your patience waiting for these results is most appreciated.

    Ballot Returns Updated for Today

    POLS NOTE: In order to make comments easier to read and understand, we decided to create a new post for these returns, rather than just updating the original post.

    Below are the turnout numbers reported a little after 3:00 p.m. today by the SOS. Remember that there is some lag time in the reporting process (in other words, there are more ballots returned than what is listed below, but what is listed below is what the various County Clerks reported to the SOS today):

    *Party/ Ballots Returned Thus Far/ Total Active Voters/ Percent Returned

    Democrats: 279,462/ 817,458/ 34%

    Republicans: 314,264/ 855,667/ 37%

    Richard Coolidge of the Secretary of State’s office also included this note in today’s ballot update:

    Colorado County clerks may begin processing (not tabulating) ballots 15 days before the election. All 64 counties should have a good sample of mail ballots tabulated after 7:00pm tomorrow evening. Remember, 46 counties are voting exclusively by mail, so ballots received Tuesday may not be included in that original release of results. The remaining 18 counties will still have mail results, but will also need to factor in votes cast at precinct polling places (like El Paso, Pitkin, Las Animas, etc) or at vote centers (like Weld, Park, Archuleta, etc).

    Our read on these numbers? The Michael Bennet campaign is going to be sweating it out tomorrow, hoping to see turnout reach levels cross well into the 300,000 level (the higher the turnout above 300,000, the better the odds that Bennet wins).

    As for the GOP turnout, we’re curious to see how big the undervote might be. Turnout is pretty high already considering the amount of grumbling from Republicans over their (lack of) great choices for Governor, and to a lesser extent, U.S. Senate, but if most of the returned ballots are casting a vote in the race for Governor and Senate, this benefits Scott McInnis and Jane Norton in their respective races.

    New Polling Shows Bennet, Norton Ahead, GOP Gov. Tossup

    New polling out this morning from Public Policy Polling has some interesting numbers across the board in the three top-ticket Primaries in Colorado:

    U.S. Senate (Democrats)

    Michael Bennet: 49%

    Andrew Romanoff: 43%

    Undecided: 9%

    U.S. Senate (Republicans)

    Jane Norton: 45%

    Ken Buck: 43%

    Undecided: 12%

    Governor (Republicans)

    Scott McInnis: 41%

    Dan Maes: 40%

    Undecided: 19%

    It looks like all of these races are going to come down to the turnout numbers, with higher turnout favoring Bennet, Norton and McInnis (because these three have the highest name ID in their respective races). The Secretary of State’s office will release the latest turnout figures after 3:00 p.m. today, so check back here for that update.

    PPP Poll is out

    Michael Bennet’s holding on to a small lead the day before the Democratic primary for US Senate in Colorado, 49-43 over challenger Andrew Romanoff.


    Both candidates are relatively popular with Bennet holding a 57/24 approval rating and Romanoff sporting a 52/27 favorability spread. Bennet’s approval rating with primary voters was 53/22 when PPP last looked at the race in May so the spirited primary campaign doesn’t appear to have had a negative impact on his overall popularity within the party, a good sign for him if he does indeed move onto the fall.

    Poll summary here:


    Full results, including crosstabs, here:


    Support Net Neutrality!

    Hopefully this is an issue that unites us all here at Colorado Pols, because without Net Neutrality, this might be a different place entirely.

    As Politico reports:

    The Federal Communications Commission Thursday suspended its weeks-long series of talks with Internet providers on Net neutrality, dealing a blow to efforts to produce a deal that the agency could take to Congress.

    The decision to cut off negotiations marks a major political setback for Chairman Julius Genachowski, whose office reached out to stakeholders six weeks ago to strike an agreement and avoid a public battle over rules that would treat all users’ Web traffic equally.

    But the end to industry discussions – which a source close to the FCC talks blamed entirely on news that Google and Verizon separately sought some form of net neutrality agreement – could now force the FCC to take a more aggressive approach to solidifying its broadband authority.

    FCC chief of staff Edward Lazarus stressed in a briefly worded statement that the agency has no plans to back down on Net neutrality, months after a federal court in a case involving Comcast essentially nullified much of the agency’s broadband authority…

    …”Any outcome, any deal that doesn’t preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet for consumers and entrepreneurs, will be unacceptable,” he said.

    Colorado’s congressional delegation has taken different positions on Net Neutrality. Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn has opposed it, while Democratic Rep. Jared Polis has been a supporter. Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter signed onto an odd letter last fall that sort-of questioned Net Neutrality. Both Colorado Senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, are supporters of Net Neutrality.

    Romanoff Attack Ad Universally Panned as Untrue

    We were critical of the latest ad from Democrat Andrew Romanoff, called “Greed,” for saying that Sen. Michael Bennet “pushed companies into bankruptcy and looted a billion dollars.” While there are certainly votes and other issues that Romanoff could use to criticize Bennet, this ad went way beyond just negative campaigning because it outright lied in accusing Bennet of stealing from companies.

    Well, the three biggest Denver news networks have all come out with their “Truth Test” or “Fact Checks” or whatever other clever name they have for checking the accuracy of campaign ads. The result: 3 out of 3 say the main message and components of the “Greed” ad are false.

  • 9News (NBC)

  • Channel 7 (ABC)

  • Channel 4 (CBS)
  • Romanoff Now Says He Would Take DSCC, PAC Help

    UPDATE #3: In an email just sent out by the Romanoff campaign, Romanoff repeats the same canard as earlier. Clearly this has become a huge problem for the campaign, and it didn’t need to be. If only Campaign Manager Bill Romjue had just kept quiet for a few more days…answering the question about DSCC support may very well prove fatal to the Romanoff campaign.

    Here’s Romanoff’s newest statement:

    I don’t take any PAC money now, I have not done so at any point in this campaign, and I will not do so in the general election.  I don’t know how to make my stand any clearer.

    To set this matter to rest, I took one further step today.  I vowed to ask the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) to exclude any PAC dollars from contributions or expenditures it makes on my behalf.

    We don’t want to get too caught up in semantics here, but there’s an important phrase in this statement. Romanoff says “I vowed to ask” the DSCC to exclude PAC dollars. He didn’t vow “not to accept PAC dollars,” because that would be impossible. He knows the DSCC cannot separate PAC money out of its bank account and give Romanoff only the “PAC-free” funds, so he’s really just vowing to ask for something he can’t have.

    And on that note, we vow to ask Santa Claus for a unicorn this Christmas!


    UPDATE #2: Romanoff has issued a statement in an attempt to clarify: “After I win the primary, I will ask the DSCC to honor my pledge by excluding PAC dollars from any contributions or expenditures it makes on my behalf.”

    This statement is, of course, absurd, because there is no way to separate PAC money from non-PAC money when it all goes into the same account. This would be like saying you want to only eat the healthy parts of a cookie after it has already been baked.


    UPDATE: Romanoff’s campaign told Politico that the Colorado Statesman article referenced below was “inaccurate.” In its own story today, the Statesman stands by its original reporting:

    The Statesman’s editor and publisher said the newspaper stands by its story…

    …Romanoff sat with a reporter from The Statesman for an interview immediately following a Jan. 19 press conference where he declared he was still running for the Senate – after rumors swirled he was instead considering a run for governor – and made his most uncompromising statement to date about his refusal to take money from political action committees, which he labeled part of an “incumbent protection racket.”

    “Andrew said what he said in response to a direct question about the DSCC,” said Statesman editor Jody Hope Strogoff, who has covered Romanoff’s political career for more than a decade. “If he’d like to make a case he was answering a different question than the one he was asked, he can do that. But he’s had more than six months to correct the record.”

    Strogoff pointed out the Romanoff campaign hasn’t been shy about challenging newspaper stories that have appeared in The Statesman or elsewhere.


    Original post after the jump.

    As Politico reports today:

    Though surging Colorado Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff has sold his own home in order to maintain his pledge to shun political action committee money, his campaign manager Bill Romjue told POLITICO Tuesday that the Democrat would accept funding from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) in the general election, even though the organization takes money from PACs.

    Romjue argued that the position is not inconsistent with Romanoff’s pledge to swear off all PAC money from corporations and other special interest groups because there’s no direct relationship between the Senate fundraising committee and the PACs…

    “You can always find an ivory tower person that’s completely pure. We’re not an ivory tower person. Andrew’s going to be funded by individuals, but of course we’ll accept money from the DSCC,” Romjue said. [Pols emphasis]

    The problem with these statements from Romjue is that they are completely at odds with what Romanoff has previously said on the record, like to The Colorado Statesman in January:

    Romanoff went even further after his speech, telling The Colorado Statesman he plans to give the cold shoulder to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, if he wins the primary in August.

    “I don’t welcome the outside interference,” Romanoff said. “My campaign is going to continue to rely on contributions from individuals,” he said, eschewing PACs and special-interest donors he labeled part of an “incumbent-protection racket” in his speech.

    “When we win the primary,” Romanoff predicted, “we’ll find a lot of friends around the state and country we might not have now. But I’m not going to change my message to suit the interests of new-found friends.” [Pols emphasis]

    According to the Politico story, the Romanoff campaign says the Statesman story is “inaccurate,” but Romanoff’s quotes are pretty clear.

    This was always one of the fundamental problems with Romanoff relying on a “No PAC Money” campaign message — it’s a reckless, “all or nothing” message for a Primary that absolutely kills him in a General Election. Romanoff would have to have the help of the DSCC to have any chance at winning a General Election, but he’s backed himself into a corner.

    Romanoff Supporters’ Fact-Free Robocall

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here.

    This is the automated call going out to registered Democrats across the state against Sen. Michael Bennet on behalf of Andrew Romanoff, from a group calling itself “New Leadership in Colorado”–who wants you to know that they’re “not one of those shady groups calling you.”

    But they are attacking Bennet for “voting to give a bailout” to “big banks who wrecked our economy.”

    It shouldn’t even be necessary to note that this robocall is telling a bald-faced lie–Michael Bennet wasn’t even in the Senate when the “big bank bailouts” passed in late 2008. But it’s clear enough that being factual, or even remotely close to factual, is not the goal of this robocall–because robocalls are considered to be an under-the-radar way of planting messages with voters you don’t necessarily want to claim as your own, that all makes sense.

    According to the Colorado Statesman, writing last week about other negative radio ads that suddenly cropped up against Bennet, “New Leadership in Colorado” is a 527 run by a former AFL-CIO chief of staff named Debbie Wamsley. Who, evidently, is totally cool with lying to you if it makes you more likely to vote against Michael Bennet.

    The Most Important Number Until the Primary: Turnout

    FRIDAY UPDATE: Here are the turnout numbers as of 2:45 p.m. today. It looks like a lot of voters are still holding onto their ballots:

    *Party/ Ballots Returned Thus Far/ Total Active Voters/ Percent Returned

    Democrats: 245,477/ 817,458/ 30%

    Republicans: 269,646/ 855,667/ 32%


    Previous updates and original post after the jump


    WEDNESDAY UPDATE: The Secretary of State’s office has updated the ballot return numbers. Here they are as of about 4:00 p.m. today:

    *Party/ Ballots Returned Thus Far/ Total Active Voters/ Percent Returned

    Democrats: 210,201/ 817,458/ 26%

    Republicans: 222,938/ 855,667/ 26%

    Democrats have already voted in significantly higher numbers than in 2008 (see after the jump for more), while Republicans are almost there. There’s still a lot of ballots to go for either Party to surpass the 335,431 votes cast the last time Colorado had a competitive top-ballot Primary (Pete Coors/Bob Schaffer in 2004).


    In the last couple of weeks, polls for both the Democratic and Republican Senate races, as well as the Republican Governor’s race, have showed results that are all over the map. Those changing numbers lead us to believe that all three races are going to be relatively close.

    With that in mind, the most important number for the next 8 days is going to be turnout. The general rule of thumb is that a higher turnout benefits the candidates with the best name ID — Sen. Michael Bennet on the Democratic side, and Jane Norton (Senate) and Scott McInnis (Governor) on the Republican ticket — because a larger number of voters usually means a larger number of uninformed voters, for whom name ID is really the most important issue.

    As of this afternoon, here are the turnout results from the Secretary of State’s office. We’ll update these numbers on Wednesday afternoon and again on Friday afternoon (special thanks to the SOS Communications Staff for the timely updates):

    *Party/ Ballots Returned Thus Far/ Total Active Voters/ Percent Returned

    Democrats: 164,878/ 817,458/ 20%

    Republicans: 171,236/ 855,667/ 20%

    In 2006, overall primary turnout was 23%, while in 2008, overall primary turnout was 21.95%. It would appear as though we are well on our way to higher than normal turnout, which makes sense since we haven’t seen a contested statewide primary in Colorado (at the top of the ticket) since the 2004 Republican Senate race between Pete Coors and Bob Schaffer.

    To give those numbers some perspective, here are the numbers for ballots cast for the top ticket race in 2008, 2006 and 2004. Pay particular attention to the 2004 Republican Senate race, which as we said above was the last competitive top-ticket Primary in Colorado:


    2008: 194,227 votes cast (Mark Udall, Senate)

    2006: 142,586 votes cast (Bill Ritter, Governor)

    2004: 237,140 votes cast (Ken Salazar/Mike Miles, U.S. Senate)


    2008: 239,212 votes case (Bob Schaffer, Senate)

    2006: 193,804 votes cast (Bob Beauprez, Governor)

    2004: 335,431 votes cast (Pete Coors/Bob Schaffer, U.S. Senate)

    Romanoff Destroys His Own Message, Image With Latest Ad

    All campaigns (at least those that are really trying to win) eventually go negative in their advertising and messaging. Both candidates for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate have long since crossed into negative territory. On the Democratic side, Andrew Romanoff first crossed that threshold about 10 days ago, which in response prompted the first negative ad from Sen. Michael Bennet.

    The definition of a negative ad is focusing on a perceived weakness of your opponent, as opposed to pointing out your positive aspects, and we’ve never had a problem with that. But Romanoff’s newest negative ad targeted at Bennet, which was ripped today by the major Denver newspaper, is different.

    The ad, called “Greed” (embedded after the jump), says that while working for Phil Anschutz, Bennet “pushed companies into bankruptcy and looted a billion dollars.”

    You read that right — Romanoff’s ad essentially says that Bennet intentionally bankrupted companies in order to steal money from them. That’s way beyond a negative ad because it’s factually wrong. And intentionally running inaccurate ads to smear your opponent — well, that’s a crap move that’s no better than Jane Norton using 9/11 imagery as a scare tactic. Nobody can say otherwise — not with a straight face, anyway.

    Obviously, Romanoff is pulling out all of the stops in an effort to upset Bennet, but in doing so he has flushed down the toilet the primary message of his entire campaign: That he is a “different” politician who wants to be a Senator “for the rest of us.”

    So long, “Regular Guy Andrew Who Won’t Go Negative.”

    Hello, “Same Old Politician Who Will Say Anything In Order to Win.” Maybe it will get him a Primary victory, and maybe it won’t (we still think Bennet will ultimately win). But if it does…is it really worth the cost? Intentionally spreading egregious lies about someone in your own Party, just to win?  

    Poll Has Romanoff Withing Striking Distance (But With Grain of Salt)

    A group called “New Leadership Colorado” sent out a press release late this evening showing Democrat Andrew Romanoff within striking distance of Sen. Michael Bennet in the race for the Democratic nomination for Senate. “New Leadership Colorado” claims that it has no ties to either Romanoff or Bennet, but obviously their interests are with Romanoff (because there would be no other reason to announce this otherwise).

    The automated phone survey shows Bennet leading Romanoff 44-40, with what they say is a margin of error of +/-3.6%. Given that every other head-to-head poll released to this point has shown Bennet with a double-digit lead, this is good news for Romanoff, right?


    The polling and memo was done by a Democratic communications firm called Zata3, a name that should be familiar to many politicos for their robocalls, direct mail and other communications tools such as text messaging.

    But what Zata3 does not normally do is polling. That doesn’t mean that they definitely don’t have these numbers correct, but they are not a polling firm. You hire Zata3 to do persuasion phone calls or text messaging — not polling — just like you wouldn’t normally hire a polling firm to do your direct mail (or for a real-world example, you wouldn’t go to a dry cleaner to buy a sandwich). This is no knock on Zata3, it’s just that it seems odd that you wouldn’t use a professional polling firm if you wanted real polling results.

    We wondered when we first got the press release at 6:17 PM why anyone would release something this potentially helpful so late in the day; normally you would never send something to the press this late because it would almost certainly get buried and not make it on the news. But perhaps that was the point — to put it out late enough that news outlets wouldn’t have time to really check into the data and the “pollster.”

    Full press release after the jump.

    A new Zata3 poll commissioned by New Leadership in Colorado shows former Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff surging to nearly within the margin of error against Senator Michael Bennet.  The survey of 800 likely and somewhat likely Democratic primary voters shows Bennett with 44% and Romanoff with 40% and 16% still undecided with two weeks until election day.  The margin of error is +/- 3.6%.

    A copy of the polling memo is attached hereto.

    ***For questions about the survey, please contact the polling firm:  Brad

    Chism, Zata3 – 202.386.6024****

    New Leadership in Colorado is an independen committee with no ties with either Romanoff or Bennet.


    Paid for by New Leadership in Colorado.  Not authorized by any candidate or candidates committee.  New Leadership in Colorado is responsible for the content of this advertising.

    Romanoff Sells His Crib, Which is Miracle In Itself

    Democrat Andrew Romanoff has sold his Washington Park house and used most of the proceeds to shore up his underfunded Senate bid against incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet. As Eli Stokols of Fox 31 reports:

    Romanoff, who bought his home one block of east of Washington Park in the 1990s, sold it to a developer for $360,000. From that, he loaned $325,000 to his campaign.

    Last quarter, Romanoff raised $620,000 in contributions, his campaign’s best showing to date. Bennet’s campaign raised $1.63 million during the same period.

    Given that the U.S. is suffering through the worst housing market ever, maybe Romanoff should be touting his real estate skills as a candidate.  

    Bennet, Udall Playing Key Role in Energy Legislation Debate

    You may have noticed from the two ads currently running on Colorado Pols that energy legislation is now the key topic on Capitol Hill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today outlined what looks to be the legislation that will be discussed next week, and both Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall have played a significant role in the process.

    First, Reid’s remarks after today’s Senate Democratic Caucus meeting:

    “We have a responsibility – both to our constituents and our children – to take on America’s energy challenge. Many of us want to do that through a comprehensive bill that creates jobs, breaks our addiction to oil and curbs pollution.  Unfortunately, at this time not one Republican wants to join us in achieving this goal. That isn’t just disappointing.  It’s dangerous.

    “So, the President, Senator Kerry, and I will continue to reach out to Republicans and work with the environmental and energy community to garner the support needed to move forward on a larger bill. But Republican political calculations don’t change our obligation to lay the foundations of a safer and stronger future. So in the coming days we’re going to introduce a solid four-part bill.

    “One, we will hold BP accountable. We will ensure it pays to clean up its mess, and we will put forth measures to prevent a disaster like this from ever happening again. Two, we will create clean-energy jobs across America. Home Star is a bipartisan energy efficiency program that will not only lower consumers’ energy costs, but create American jobs that can never be outsourced. Three, we will lessen our dependence on oil.

    “And fourth, our country is blessed with abundant resources and we must tap into those. That is why we will invest in the manufacturing of natural gas vehicles. We will protect our environment by investing in the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Doing so now will help ensure our land and water is protected long into the future – even from the effects of climate change. [Pols emphasis]    

    “To be clear: we are not putting forth this bill in place of a comprehensive bill. But we will not pass up the opportunity to hold BP accountable, lessen our dependence on oil, create good paying American jobs and protect the environment.  I’m disappointed in my Republican colleagues, who again find themselves on the wrong side of history. But as we work through our differences on a comprehensive energy bill, Republicans have an immediate choice to make.  

    “They can join with us to pass these simple, straight forward bipartisan measures to hold BP accountable, lessen our dependence on oil and create jobs, or they can continue to protect big oil companies and kill job growth in America.”

    Bennet and Udall have been in the thick of many of these discussions, and earlier this week Bennet sent a letter to Reid requesting that the Land and Water Conservation Fund — which is already paid for from oil & gas leasing revenue — receive full funding in the proposed energy bill. Congress has traditionally siphoned off for other projects the money meant for the Land and Water Conservation Fund — money which funds national parks and other recreation areas open to the public, such as the Sand Dunes National Monument, renovations to Steamboat Lake, the Poudre River Trail in Greeley and the Greenland Open Space Trail in Douglas County.

    Meanwhile, Udall has long been pushing plans for an amendment in any energy bill that would fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Both Bennet and Udall’s insistence that some oil & gas leasing revenue be used to preserve national parks and recreation areas was apparently critical in ensuring that this issue was not left out of the Senate energy bill.

    UPDATE: Udall’s statement on Reid’s announcement after the jump.

    Statement from Mark Udall:

    Today, U.S. Senator Mark Udall released the following statement after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he will introduce a scaled-back energy bill focused on creating jobs and preventing another spill like BP’s Deepwater Horizon:

    “There are many things to like about the legislation Senator Reid plans to introduce next week.  BP’s disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has revealed dangerous gaps in our ability to respond to drilling accidents.  Senator Reid is correct that any energy legislation we pass should hold BP and other companies accountable.  I’m pleased that he has made it clear today that he will move forward with a bill I helped shape to prevent such a spill from happening again.  This is a step in the right direction.

    “I’m also very pleased that Senator Reid intends to include a measure I have advocated for years, which would invest in the Land and Water Conservation Fund – a 40-year-old program that uses revenues from oil and gas development to purchase special land for conservation.  Congress has chronically failed to keep its promise to ensure that as we drill for oil and gas, we also set aside land for hunting, fishing and recreation.  There’s no greater example of the kind of success this program can have than the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, which was made possible in part thanks to the LWCF.  I’m absolutely certain that Americans will embrace future efforts to conserve our nation’s treasured places when we give this program its due.

    “Finally, Senator Reid has also made it clear that we must move forward with incentives to create jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  Both are critical steps to rebuild our economy and strengthen our national security.

    “But while I’m pleased that we are addressing several immediate concerns through this legislation, today is a disappointment.  Despite numerous efforts to reach out and work across the aisle by many Senators – including myself – my Republican colleagues have put politics ahead of our country’s economic future and our national security, and they’re preventing us from moving forward on a comprehensive clean energy bill.

    “We’ve seen wake-up calls in the form of the BP oil spill, the economic recession, and the disturbing changes in pollution levels across the country.  It’s time to stand up and act.  We can’t sustain our leadership as a world economic and national power if we let ourselves fall behind China, India and Europe – and it would be a tragedy if we did so simply for short-term political gains.

    “I have called on Congress to pass a cap on greenhouse gases that pollute our air and water and to establish a strong renewable electricity standard, among other steps, to secure our position as a leader in the clean energy economy.  And I will continue to fight for such legislation this year.”

    More information about Senator Udall’s work to on the BP oil spill and the clean energy economy is available HERE.

    Bennet Hits Back at Romanoff as Gloves Come Off in Dem Primary

    For those who would lament that it is sad that both candidates in the Democratic Senate Primary are going negative, we’ll say this: Right or wrong, it was inevitable, just as it was inevitable that Republicans Ken Buck and Jane Norton would attack each other in their Senate race.

    The campaign of Sen. Michael Bennet went up this evening with its own negative ad in response to the attack ad started today by Andrew Romanoff.

    Both sides will argue over which ad is more damaging, but Bennet’s ad hits what has really been Romanoff’s only message — that Bennet takes PAC money and he doesn’t. The Romanoff ad against Bennet certainly hurts, but Bennet has other things he can talk about; Romanoff has put all his chips in the PAC attack basket. As we wrote before, we thought Romanoff should have gone up on TV with a message about his own record first, rather than using his PAC message out of the gate, in part so that he would at least have had another narrative to fall back on should the PAC thing blow up.

    Given Romanoff’s small campaign warchest and Bennet’s ability to drive this ad relentlessly, it’s not hard to see how the Bennet ad will hurt more.

    This back and forth also shows the benefit of being the frontrunner in a race; Bennet got to sit back and stay positive until Romanoff was forced to go negative, and in response Bennet’s campaign could generate press for a day making Romanoff look bad. They could then go negative themselves with the message that “Romanoff did it first, so we had to respond.” The same thing is happening in the Republican Primary, where Norton went negative first because she is trailing Buck.