by Anthony Lane
The two Colorado Democrats squaring off in the primary for this year's primary race clearly have different things going for them. Andrew Romanoff, a former speaker of the state House, has loads of political experience, a polished speaking style and a solid network of grassroots supporters behind him who still think he was robbed when Gov. Bill Ritter passed him over to fill a Senate vacancy last year.
Sen. Michael Bennet, a former Denver schools superintendent who got that Senate appointment, has become a prolific fundraiser, gets lots of attention as the incumbent, and also has some powerful support from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and President Barack Obama himself. (In case you didn't see the news, Obama will be in Denver campaigning for Bennet on Feb. 18.)
Yes, the idea of folks from Washington getting to involved in a Colorado primary is bound to tick some people off. State Democratic Party Vice Chair Dan Slater, who is in D.C. right now for the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting, blogs that he brought up the tender subject of Washington involvement in a state primary at a meeting of the party's chair's and vice chairs.
And, this morning, we held a meeting of the Association of State Democratic Chairs (ASDC), of which I am one of Colorado’s two members. The “meat and potatoes” of the meeting was closed to the press. So I’m not sure how much I should talk about it.
But I had a part in it, and I think Colorado Democrats need to have answers to their questions. So I’m going to talk about it a bit. I don’t think I’m going to give away any state secrets, but there are some, both in Colorado and here in DC, who probably wish I’d just keep my mouth (and my blog) shut.
Of course, I don’t serve those folks.
Over the past 48 hours, Pat and I have received close to 100 emails from people about their concerns that the President was getting involved in a Democratic primary for U.S. Senate here in Colorado. Every single one I saw asked us to make sure that we expressed ourselves that the White House should not be involved in a primary in Colorado.
So that’s what I did. We were addressed this morning by Jen O’Malley-Dillon, the Executive Director of the DNC. I used that opportunity to tell her that I had a concern that the President’s involvement in Colorado was hurting the State Party. And that it was probably hurting the President.
It will be interesting to see how all this plays out when Democrats have their first chance to voice their preference for Romanoff or Bennet during the state's caucuses March 16.