Colorado Primary: And the Winner Is....Sen. Michael Bennet
Update: Gov. Bill Ritter and Sen. Mark Udall are with Sen. Bennet at the Bennet celebration. Sen. Bennet made some gracious comments about Andrew Romanoff. At his election party, Romanoff expressed his support for Bennet and asked his supporters to do the same.
Ken Buck said voters will have a clear choice in November: "between conservative Ken Buck and Liberal Michael Bennet." He said the differences between Buck and Jane Norton were miniscule by comparison. Norton asked her supporters tonight to support Buck.
The Republican gubernatorial primary is still too close to call, between Scott McInnis, recently beset by plagiarism issues, and Dan Maes, the Tea Party-supported candidate. If McInnis wins, Tom Tancredo is waiting in the wings. The Democratic candidate, popular Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, should be shoo-in, particularly if McInnnis and Tancredo are both in the race, splitting Republican voters.
Update: Sen. Bennet's statement to supporters (received by e-mail):[More...]
Tonight, I feel what you would expect: happy, eager for our next challenge, and, most of all, grateful. So, I want to say loudly and clearly: "Thank you."
I also want to congratulate Andrew Romanoff for his spirited campaign, and for his years of service to the Democratic Party -- I hope he will continue to help this Party, and Colorado, with his talents.
We're in fighting shape now, and any opponent who stands against us will have a heck of a time staring down our unified front of Coloradans. Now, it's on to November --
Update: Bennet will face Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck in November. Previously, Buck was an AUSA who left after a reprimand by the U.S. Attorney for criticizing a federal gun prosecution and sharing information with a defense lawyer. The information torpedoed the case (which, by the way, deserved to be torpedoed.) But, before people go around saying Buck is friendly to defense lawyers, think again: The defense attorney he shared the info with was a friend who was a former AUSA in the office from 1987 to 1994. The gun case was referred to the U.S. attorney's office in 1998, when Buck was chief of general crimes. A Republican state legislator asked Buck for recommendations for defense lawyers, and Buck suggested the former AUSA for representation.
Buck recalls that when grand jury subpoenas went out, he got a call from his friend, now state Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, who was looking for names of good defense lawyers for the Golyanskys. Buck gave him a few names, including that of Stephen Peters, an attorney he said he knew socially. Peters called Buck before the indictment was issued and Buck said he told him that there was disagreement within the office about going forward with the Golyansky prosecution. He also said he told Peters about Villafuerte's memo.
In other words, Buck shared the info because the lawyer was a friend and former crony. Anyone who thinks he has defense-oriented leanings is way off base.
Update: Denver and Boulder went for Romanoff. Pueblo, another Democratic stronghold, went for Bennet by 10 points. The ski areas split, with Aspen overwhelmingly for Romanoff, while Telluride, Vail, Steamboat Springs and Breckenridge preferred Bennet.
The only other counties Romanoff won were small ones like Gilpin, Clear Creek, Park, Las Animas, Jackson, Kiowa, Gunnison, Cheyenne and Baca. Interesting: Gilpin is home to two of Colorado's legalized gambling towns, Black Hawk and Central City. If Teller, which is home to Cripple Creek, another gambling town goes for Romanoff, maybe there's a message there? (Added: some of these counties have changed in the past hour, and I'm correcting the list as more votes come in. Teller is the only county with no reported votes so far.)
Update: Andrew Romanoff has called Sen. Michael Bennet to concede. On to November, I still think Sen. Bennet is the best choice to beat the Republican winner. Right now, Ken Buck is still ahead.
Update: 9 News and the Denver Post have called the Democratic primary for Colorado Senator for Sen. Michael Bennet. One place Romanoff was the clear leader: Aspen, where he leads 75% to 25%. State-wide, with 63% in, Bennet leads 54% to 46%.
Update: How the vote is looking city-wise: Bennet up 58-42% in El Paso County, while Romanoff leads 53-47 in Denver County and 52-48 in Boulder County. Overall, Bennet's holding is 54-46 lead with 59% of votes in.
Update: I think it's over for Romanoff. His lead is narrowing in Boulder, which should be one his major strongholds. Overall, it's Bennet 54% to Romanoff's 46%. I doubt Romanoff can make up the difference.
Update: Sen. Bennet's lead is widening. With 56% votes in, he leads 54% to 46%. Republican Ken Buck is pulling ahead of Jane Norton.
The polls have closed in Colorado. Supporters of Sen. Michael Bennet are streaming into Mile High Station in Denver, hoping for a victory over challenger Andrew Romanoff. Here's a photo of what the room looked like just before folks started arriving. Romanoff supporters are at the City Hall Amphitheater.
With 50% reporting, Michael Bennet is leading 53.0% to Andrew Romanoff's 47%.
Will this be a nailbiter? Doesn't seem like it, unless the big cities which are likely to be more Romanoff-oriented aren't yet counted. The Republican race seems tighter. Stay tuned.
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