by Anthony Lane
Democrats now have more than 97 percent of precincts reporting their preference poll results from last night, and the addition of Pueblo's result has been good to ... the uncommitted category, which is now up to 8 percent of the vote. (Uncommitted delegates could play a big role as the nominating process spins onward, culminating in the May 22 state assembly in Broomfield and the Aug. 10 primary election.)
Andrew Romanoff now leads by 2,047 votes over Sen. Michael Bennet, by a margin of 50-41. (That means both candidates should make the primary ballot. For both Democrats and Republicans, the cutoff is 30 percent of delegates, at the county assemblies for local offices and the state assemblies for anything statewide.)
With 97 percent of Republican precincts reporting, the Republican Senate race is still almost a draw, with Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck now leading Jane Norton by 148 votes. (When you round numbers, though, they still look even at 38 percent of the vote.)
The spin this fine Wednesday has been furious. Actually, it started Tuesday night with a statement from Bennet's campaign manager: "Tonight, Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, thanked supporters for coming out to help him compete against his primary opponent’s nearly two-decades of cultivated backing throughout the state that was expected to produce a much larger victory. In turn, Bennet's campaign is now gearing up to win the primary and general elections." (The full statement is posted below, along with Romanoff's remarks.)
Romanoff held his a press conference this morning, remarking: "“Last night, the people of Colorado finally, finally got their first chance to weigh in on this race. And despite an avalanche of corporate cash, despite hundreds of thousands of glossy brochures and out-of-state robocalls, despite the most elaborate efforts of a national political machine, we won. Main Street won. Wall Street lost. That is a message that Washington needs to hear."
Bennet Easily Clears First Hurdle on Path to Nomination
Oppenent falls short of expectations
Denver, CO — Tonight, Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, thanked supporters for coming out to help him compete against his primary opponent’s nearly two-decades of cultivated backing throughout the state that was expected to produce a much larger victory. In turn, Bennet's campaign is now gearing up to win the primary and general elections.
“I want to thank the thousands of Coloradans who came out tonight to show their support for the work we are all doing together to change Washington and who will join me in winning the primary in August and the general election in the fall,” Bennet said. “As someone who isn’t a political insider, tonight's support is especially meaningful."
Campaign Manager Craig Hughes said, “This is a huge victory for us. Competing against a political network built over nearly two decades is never easy, but not only did our opponent not do as well as expected, tonight gave us the opportunity to build a valuable grassroots base that will help us win in the fall.”
Hughes continued, “The purpose of the caucus is to qualify for the August ballot, but it’s only one step in the process. We’re now looking forward to winning in August and in November. We remain the only Democratic candidate with the resources to compete against the Republican war chest in the fall.”
Bennet tonight overcame serious odds to qualify for the ballot, including the fact that he has only held public office for one year and has already been the focus of several attacks from political opponents on all sides. Despite major disadvantages, Bennet has improved in the polls over the course of the last several months and continues to hold a competitive edge against his Republican opponents. He has also received a growing number of endorsements from labor, elected officials, and nearly 100 leaders in the Latino Community.
Nearly 30 years worth of historic evidence also suggests that the caucus and assembly process is no indication of success in the primary campaign. This year’s primary is slated for August 10th and the latest public poll has Bennet winning that contest already.
Bennet’s campaign is already aiming to be a force in the general election by airing his first ever television commercial starting tomorrow, which will highlight his plan to reform Washington. Having a proven record of tackling tough problems and deliver results, Bennet’s Washington reform plan has been called “the most comprehensive Senate reform proposal...seen in some time.”
Romanoff: 'Main Street Won. Wall Street Lost.'
US Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff, winner of Colorado's statewide precinct caucuses on Tuesday, said today that the victory was a signal of voter disgust with pay-to-play politics in Washington.
"The special interests have enough politicians on their payroll," Romanoff said at a press conference in Denver this morning. " We need a senator for the rest of us."
In the first test on the 2010 Colorado election calendar, Democratic caucus-goers favored Romanoff over Sen. Michael Bennet, 52 percent to 41 percent.
For a audio link to today's press conference, go to:
Here's a transcript of Romanoff's opening remarks:
“Last night, the people of Colorado finally, finally got their first chance to weigh in on this race. And despite an avalanche of corporate cash, despite hundreds of thousands of glossy brochures and out-of-state robocalls, despite the most elaborate efforts of a national political machine, we won. Main Street won. Wall Street lost. That is a message that Washington needs to hear.
“A lot of candidates now claim to be listening to Colorado. Well, here is what Coloradans are saying, loud and clear: the special interests have enough politicians on their payroll. We need a senator for the rest of us.
“I bring to this race the strongest record of legislative leadership, the most aggressive agenda for reform, and the only real hope of changing a corrupt political culture in Washington DC. I am the only candidate in this race who is turning down the corporate cash that has corrupted Congress and that threatens to drown our democracy.
“When Lincoln spoke of ‘government by the people,’ he didn’t spell it ‘B-U-Y.’
“Nearly everyone we’ve talked to now over the last six months just wants Congress to get something done. That isn’t happening, and Americans are hurting.
“We ought to be cleaning up the abuses on Wall Street and holding accountable the folks who contributed to the worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression. Instead, my opponent has taken more money from Wall Street than all but four other members of the United States Congress, and that institution has failed to act on these financial reforms we need.
“We ought to be protecting homeowners from foreclosure. My opponent voted against a bill that would have done exactly that.
“We ought to put an end to Washington’s backroom deals, the kind of deals that have disgusted so many Americans, which my opponent, like most of the folks in the majority party, voted for.
“And we ought to be protecting senior citizens. Congress had a chance to do that by offering them a modest increase, a one-time $250 increase to make up for an absence of a cost-of-living adjustment. My opponent voted against that too.”
Romanoff also thanked “the thousands of volunteers who contributed to this effort and the 22,000 Democrats who showed up to caucus last night.”