Romanoff gears up Senate campaign
Andrew Romanoff’s so-called stealth campaign to be Colorado’s newest U.S. senator is about to come out of the shadows.
The former speaker of the Colorado House and now a candidate to be the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate has spent much of the past few weeks building his campaign staff and trying to raise funds to pay for them.
Now the Denverite who gets much of the credit for leading his party’s takeover of the Legislature in 2004 is ready to do some serious handshaking and baby kissing.
“This is not my first rodeo, nor is it my first trip to the Western Slope,” he said. “I’ve been crisscrossing the state for the last 16 years. A lot of people have told me they’ve been hoping for a break between elections, but I think people are excited to have a choice here.”
On Saturday, Romanoff made stops in the San Luis Valley and Gunnison. Today, he’s in Ridgway and Montrose. On Monday, he’ll visit Delta and Grand Junction.
Along the way, the 43-year-old plans to meet as many folks as he can, and he won’t be shy about asking them to donate to his cause.
To date, his donations have paled compared to his opponent, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, who was appointed to the seat in January by Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat. In the first half of this year, Romanoff collected less than $250,000, while Bennet raked in more than $2.5 million.
But that disparity hasn’t dissuaded the youthful-looking politician.
“You can’t buy an election,” Romanoff said. “We will raise the money we need to win, and we will do it mostly by appealing to Coloradans. Almost all of my contributors come from Colorado, and all of them are voters.”
“If you spend all your time trolling for dollars in Washington and Wall Street, you forget the people you represent on Main Street.”
Part of Romanoff’s fundraising woes stem from the support Bennet has received from such big names as Ritter and President Barack Obama. The former speaker, meanwhile, has settled for a long list of former and current Democrats from under the Capitol dome, including Colorado Treasurer Cary Kennedy, who once served as Romanoff’s policy director.
Bennet’s campaign manager, Craig Hughes, said Bennet’s primary focus has been to represent the state in the U.S. Senate. As a result, he’s had to cancel several campaign events in recent weeks, including ones on the Western Slope.
Hughes said the senator will find his way to this end of the state soon, but that likely won’t occur until after Christmas.