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Ken Buck Concedes and Congratulates Bennet

When Sen. Michael Bennet held his victory rally earlier, one thing was missing: a concession from challenger Ken Buck. Buck issued this statement this afternoon.

Buck said that while the final margin in the race is very small, Colorado voters have spoken and he wishes Senator Bennet well.

Buck said, “my Senate campaign has been the experience of a lifetime. I will be forever grateful to the thousands of Coloradans who helped make this grassroots journey possible.”

CBS calls the win "razor-thin", but I don't think it is. Last night at 12:45 am, the candidates were 5-6,000 votes apart. At times last night they were 4,000 votes apart. That was razor-thin. Today, with 97% of the vote in, Bennet leads by 15,000 votes, large enough to avoid an automatic recount. It's not a big win, but it's a clear one.

At least CBS acknowledges the Tea Party had a rough night in senate races. [More...]

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Live Stream of Michael Bennet's Victory Speech

Senator Michael Bennett rally at Noon, Civic Center Park in Denver. (Update: I removed the embed since it was a live stream and the rally is over.) Here's what was said and some followup on what message to take from Coloradans' vote yesterday:

Udall opened, standing next to Bennet, saying the outcome of the race was never in doubt. Everyone laughed. Diana DeGette, Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter were right behind them.

Bennet speaks. He has been moved by the people of Colorado and their support. (Later he repeats, adding humbled and inspired.)

He says the Pundits don't know what happened in Colorado. They are scratching their heads, looking for a message for the rest of the country. He's going to help them out. [More...]

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Latest Poll: Bennet, Buck in Dead Heat, Tancredo Behind

A new poll from the Denver Post and 9News have Sen. Michael Bennet and challenger Ken Buck in a dead heat. Three weeks ago, Buck was leading by five points.

In the Governor's race, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper has a good lead on Tom Tancredo. The poll shows he's got more support than Tancredo and the Republican candidate, Dan Maes, combined. Results here.

Tancredo is ratcheting up the ads against both Maes and Hickenlooper. [More...]

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Ken Buck on MTP: Being Gay is a Choice

Ken Buck and Sen. Michael Bennet were on Meet the Press today. Ken Buck said homosexuality is a choice.

DAVID GREGORY: Do you believe that being gay is a choice?

KEN BUCK: I do.

DAVID GREGORY: Based on what?

KEN BUCK: Based on what?

DAVID GREGORY: Yeah. Why do you believe that?
KEN BUCK: I guess-- you can choose who your partner is.

DAVID GREGORY: You don't think it's something that's determined at birth?

KEN BUCK: I-- I think that-- birth has an influence over like alcoholism and some other things-- but I think that-- basically, you-- you have a choice.

Sen. Bennet called Buck an opportunist:[More....]

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Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton in Colorado for Michael Bennet

Both Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton will be coming to Colorado to campaign for Sen. Michael Bennet. No one's saying if President Obama will also be coming to town. after Clinton

Clinton supported Bennet's opponent, Andrew Romanoff, in the primary. But Romanoff has also been campaigning for Bennet since then.

The Ken Buck misconduct charge ad has played three times in primetime tonight that I've seen. I hope it's having a good effect for Sen. Bennet.

In other local news, Prop. 62, the Personhood Amendment seems destined for defeat.

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Negative Campaign Ads Move Into Overdrive

I was worried that when the Dems got around to making this a campaign issue, they would portray Ken Buck as "soft on crime" or too cozy with defense lawyers, neither of which is remotely true. Happily, the ad primarily focuses on the ethical implications of Buck's actions. I wrote up the whole story here. [More..]

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Why the Michael Bennet - Ken Buck Race Matters

A new poll shows the conservative tea-party favored Senate candidate, prosecutor Ken Buck, is leading among independents in Colorado.

In the state's highest profile race, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck (R-Colorado) leads Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) 48 to 43 percent with eight percent going to another candidate and one percent undecided. Of the polling sample, Buck leads among self-described independents, 53 to 34 percent. He also leads decidedly among male voters, 52 to 37 percent, and among younger voters ages 18 to 34, 54 to 33 percent.

Where Sen. Michael Bennet is leading: Among women and older voters. Why? Because of Buck's positions against abortion and conflicting position on birth control and social security.

So Dems need to get out the female and older voters. Another reason it matters: The Personhood Amendment is on the ballot. If the anti-choice crowd comes out in greater numbers, the amendment, which grants constitutional rights from the moment of conception, has a greater chance of passing. [More...]

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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...]

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Colorado's Primary: The Circus is Underway

The AP takes an unflattering look at Colorado's primaries in "Colorado's Three Ring Political Circus." While I've focused on Bennet vs. Romanoff, and the Republican meltdown in the Governor's race, the description of the two Republican Senate candidates (both conservative, one an elected District Attorney and former AUSA and the other a former Lt. Gov. and the Executive Director of the Denver Police Foundation, married to a former U.S. Attorney appointed by Reagan and Bush I), is telling:

[Ken] Buck, a former federal prosecutor and the elected district attorney from a northern county, raised eyebrows by mocking [Jane] Norton's "high heels" while noting that his cowboy boots are stained with cow dung.

He crusades against illegal immigration, and once obtained search warrants to seize thousands of tax returns filed with a firm that caters to Hispanics..... the state Supreme Court ruled that it violated privacy rights.

Apparently, not too many people are paying attention:

A Senate debate scheduled Wednesday in Pueblo involving Norton, Buck and Romanoff was canceled for lack of interest.

My prediction: It will be Bennet vs. Buck in November.

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Why I Voted For Michael Bennet Over Andrew Romanoff

Andrew Romanoff seems like a nice guy. He really wants to be Senator. If I met him at a social event, I bet I'd like him. If he gets the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator for Colorado, I'm sure he'll be much better than his Republican opponent and I'll vote for him.

But I can't support Andrew Romanoff in the primary race against Sen. Michael Bennet, and I voted for Sen. Bennet. I voted against Romanoff because of his record as a state legislator (including his tenure as former Speaker of the House) on criminal justice, immigration and sentencing reform issues. I don't want to see a repeat performance in the U.S. Senate. (Details below.)

If you're sitting on your mail-in ballot, I hope you'll do the same, in time to beat the deadline, or vote in person on August 10. [More...]:

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Sen. Ken Salazar Not Ready to Disengage

Colorado senator Ken Salazar's replacement, Denver schools superintendant Michael Bennet, has been named by Gov. Ritter. But it sounds like Salazar, soon to be Interior Secretary, is having trouble handing over the reins to his successor:

Salazar said Sunday he would like to provide recommendations on filling two vacancies in U.S. District court in Denver as well as picking a new U.S. attorney and marshal before stepping down later this month.

Shouldn't those be Michael Bennet's choices? It's highly unlikely any of those appointments will be made before Salazar's confirmation hearings. Not only that:

Before leaving, Salazar said he'd also like to pass eight bills dealing mainly with wilderness and conservation issues. One would define bans on mining, timber harvesting and new roads and constructions in Rocky Mountain National Park. Another would establish the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area.

Someone needs to tell Sen. Salazar it's time to move on.

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