Monday, Feb. 01, 2010

Jane Norton: Colorado Senate

In Colorado, former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton faces Democrat Michael Bennet, an incumbent former Denver schools superintendent who has never run a campaign, having been appointed to his position when Ken Salazar became Secretary of the Interior last year. In that time, the new Senator has been roundly criticized by all sides. He's been labeled "Both-Ways Bennet" by Republicans for avoiding hard issues like a contentious union debate, and he was called a "Conservadem" by Rachel Maddow for voting with conservatives on energy, spending and finance bills. Now an aggressive Democrat upstart candidate is challenging him in the primaries. That may help explain why Norton has led Bennet by at least nine points in the polls since September, while running a party-line attack campaign. Norton even has her own party detractors; state Republicans have voiced resentment over what they see as Washington insiders picking their candidate for them. They're probably right — the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee purchased two Internet domain names for her weeks before she decided to run. Regardless, the widely uninspiring incumbent, who once said he'd vote for health care reform even if it meant losing his job, may face that fate either way.