Bennet beats Romanoff 54 percent to 46 percent in Democratic Senate primary

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet on Tuesday completed the first step toward claiming his job as his own.

Bennet, appointed by Gov. Bill Ritter last year, defeated Andrew Romanoff, a former Colorado House speaker, 54 percent to 46 percent, in the Democratic Party primary election.

In Mesa County, Bennet won more handily than he did statewide, 63 percent to 37 percent.

In a statement, Bennet said he congratulated Romanoff and urged him to remain involved in Colorado politics.

“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,” Bennet said.

He told supporters at his victory party that the issues “that have divided us in this campaign are so much smaller than the hopes and values we share.”

Bennet will face Republican Ken Buck, Weld County’s district attorney, in the November general election.

In a primary race that turned bitter at the end, both Democrats called on presidential help in the closing days. Bennet got a boost from President Obama in a conference call with supporters, and former President Clinton called voters at home urging them to vote for Romanoff.

Romanoff attacked Bennet for his work restructuring the debt of a theater chain, and questions arose about how Bennet reworked the debt of the Denver Public Schools, which he served as superintendent.

Bennet took an early swing at Buck, asking supporters, “Do we want a senator who answers only to the extremes in his party, even when it flies in the face of progress?”

Bennet also referred to his efforts to change filibuster rules and eliminate secret holds in the Senate on appointments.

“Washington needs a lot less finger pointing and name calling, and a lot more problem solving,” Bennet told supporters. “A little less hiding behind the Senate rules, and a lot more standing up for the American people.”


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