Professor: 2010 election to be costly

With such high stakes, ‘money is going to come in by the planeload,' he says

A year from the 2010 general election, it’s clear that candidates must have hundreds of thousands of dollars on hand to hold a spot in the races for governor and the U.S. Senate.

“The stakes are extraordinarily high” for both sides, said Dr. John Straayer, political science professor at Colorado State University.

Republicans “are desperate to get the governorship or the (state) House” because the state will be divided next year into new legislative and congressional districts.

Democrats need to defend their control of the legislative and executive branches, as well as hold onto the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Michael Bennet, which is considered “quasi-open,” Straayer said.

Bennet faces a challenge within his party from Andrew Romanoff, the former speaker of the Colorado House. Romanoff had lobbied Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter to appoint him to the Senate seat left open when Ken Salazar was appointed secretary of the interior.

With so much interest on both sides of the political aisle, “Money is going to come in by the planeload, from the state and out of state,” Straayer said.

Bennet is the clear money leader so far, with $2.6 million on hand, and that doesn’t count money raised in the third quarter.

Bennet’s immediate opposition, Romanoff, entered the campaign in September and had only weeks to seek donations before the reporting ended Sept. 30.

He said Thursday that he raised $250,000 from 1,500 contributors for his bid against Bennet.

Another late arrival, Republican Jane Norton, a Grand Junction native, tallied $505,000 for the quarter, putting her ahead of the other two candidates for the GOP nomination, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck and Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier.

Buck and Frazier have yet to report their third-quarter campaign contributions.

Buck previously reported collecting $332,000, and Frazier reported collecting $143,000.

Former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, a Grand Junction Republican, collected the most among the gubernatorial candidates, with $550,000, followed by Ritter with $452,000 and Penry, the Grand Junction Republican and Senate minority leader, with $419,000.

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