Romanoff Confirms He’s Staying in Race Against Bennet

Posted January 19, 2010 at 6:44pm

Former Colorado Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D) on Tuesday reaffirmed his interest in serving in the Senate and sharpened some of the themes of his populist-tinged campaign against appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D).

Romanoff on Tuesday held a press conference in part to say that he is supporting Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s (D) gubernatorial campaign and not entering the race himself, as some of his supporters hoped. But the bulk of his remarks centered on demanding leadership in Washington, D.C., and denouncing politicians and “special interest— groups for indifference to a host of problems facing the country.

Romanoff told Roll Call that in recent months he’s seen “a real frustration with a political system, a political culture that does not fulfill our expectations as Americans or serve our interests well.—

“Families are suffering, the climate is changing, health care costs are soaring, and Washington politicians are oblivious,— he said.

Addressing the Senate’s consideration and passage of a health care bill last month, Romanoff denounced “backroom deals— engineered by some Senators to secure special benefits for their states. He charged that “not a single Senator stood up before the die was cast and said, ‘Hey, let’s do what’s right for America.’—

“We need a Senator who will say no to these backroom deals and turn down the corporate cash that is washing over Washington,— said Romanoff, who isn’t accepting political action committee contributions. “There’s something wrong with a system that turns Congressional committees into subsidiaries of the industries they’re supposed to be regulating.

“I’ve heard this from lots of folks around the state — Democrats, Republicans, independents,— he added. “They’re discouraged and disgusted by ‘pay to play’ politics.—

Romanoff is running on a platform that promotes infrastructure improvements; restores New Deal-era employment programs like the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps; high standards for renewable energy use; greater emphasis on mass transit and alternative-fuel vehicles; a “carbon tax— to reduce emissions and greater protections for homeowners who are facing foreclosures.

Polls show no clear favorite in the Senate race regardless of which two candidates square off in November. Bennet and Romanoff are competing in the Democratic primary in August, when Republicans will choose a nominee from a field that includes former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, county prosecutor Ken Buck and former state Sen. Tom Wiens.