Incumbent Senator Michael Bennet survived a strong intra-party challenge from former Colorado House Speaker, Andrew Romanoff. (Yes, the one that was offered a job by the White House if he would drop out of the race.). Bennet won with 54.2% of the vote, while Romanoff received 45.7%.
Bennet had establishment backing from Obama, the DSCC and Organizing for America while Romanoff countered with endorsements from former President Clinton and big labor. Most facinating, this was the first major race in Colorado where Democrats did not unite behind a single candidate – at least since the 2004 “Colorado Miracle”. In fact, Romanoff became Colorado’s Speaker because of the focused, effective battle the “Gang of Four” waged against Colorado Republicans. He then went on to use that very same battle strategy against Senator Bennet, including some very negative campaigning. This time, however, it was unsuccessful. National media called the Colorado race the nastiest of the year. In fact, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine will travel to Colorado this week to speak at a unity event and work to heal the deep rift within the party and help Sen Bennet hold on to his seat in November.
The Republicans did not fare much better. Tea party candidate Ken Buck, another so-called political outsider (who actually wasn’t that much of an outsider), defeated former Lt Governor Jane Norton with 51.5% of the vote. Buck has a few faux-pas’ himself. He was caught on tape wondering when the “dumba…s” tea partiers would stop asking him about Obama’s birth certificate. Oops. He does not believe that stumbles in the primary will follow him into the general. He was endorsed by Jim DeMint and has publicly stated the political person he most admires is the SC Senator. Still, he will have his work cut out for him to defeat Bennet in November.
Bloodied and battered, the two primary winners must now struggle to unite their respective parties and win over unaffiliated voters to win the election in November. Expect more fireworks. And mud. Lots and lots of mud.
In Colorado’s gubernatorial GOP primary, Dan Maes defeated former Rep. Scott McInnis. Maes faces Democrat John Hickenlooper, the Denver mayor, and American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo, a former GOP congressman, in the general election. Tancredo got in the race because he did not believe either Maes or McInnis represented a good option for governor. McInnis was embroiled in a plagarism scandal, while Maes has his own ethical issues and fundraising troubles.
Colorado state Rep. Scott Tipton defeated Sarah Palin-endorsed veteran Bob McConnell in Democratic Rep. John Salazar’s district. (John is the older brother to Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar.) Tipton had the endorsement of Utah’s Jason Chaffetz and has gotten campaign advice from Chaffetz’ campaign manager, Deidre Henderson.
Meanwhile Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier won out over Lang Sias, (who was endorsed by John McCain, Sarah Palin and Tom Tancredo) for the GOP nomination. He will face Rep. Ed Perlmutter in November in a race that favors the incumbent.