Romanoff, Buck Prevail at Colorado Conventions

Posted May 22, 2010 at 9:39pm

Former Colorado Speaker Andrew Romanoff outpolled Sen. Michael Bennet at the state Democratic convention on Saturday, though Bennet remains the frontrunner in the Aug. 10 primary.

Romanoff defeated Bennet 60 percent to 40 percent in a tally of votes from more than 3,500 delegates. Under Colorado law, both candidates qualified for the primary ballot because they received more than 30 percent.

Romanoff’s convention victory was widely anticipated after he prevailed in first-round precinct caucuses in March, though his campaign claimed the results show it has “Romentum.”

“Today the voters of Colorado stood up to the powerbrokers in Washington and Wall Street and made their voices heard,” Romanoff campaign manager Bill Romjue wrote in an e-mail to supporters that also asked for campaign funds to meet a “need to get him on TV.”

Bennet’s forces have long noted that the winner of the activist-heavy convention more often than not goes on to lose the primary, which draws a much larger universe of voters. Bennet, who was appointed to the Senate in January 2009, is better-funded than Romanoff, and a recent Public Policy Polling survey indicated he increased his lead over Romanoff over the past two months.

“We’re in a great position. Recent polls have us leading all of our opponents in the primary and general election — and thanks to you, we’re coming out of the Assembly process in the strongest position to win,” Bennet campaign manager Craig Hughes wrote in a solicitation to supporters.

At the Republican convention, county prosecutor Ken Buck won 77 percent of the delegate vote to easily secure the top spot on the GOP primary ballot.

He was assured of a dominant showing after his chief rival, former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, decided to skip the convention and instead collect signatures to achieve ballot access. Norton is widely viewed as the preferred nominee by national Republican operatives.

“Colorado Republicans are not looking to the GOP establishment or the army of lobbyists and special interests in Washington D.C. to choose our candidate for U.S. Senate,” Buck said in a statement.