During U.S. senatorial hopeful Andrew Romanoff's first official campaign event in Denver yesterday afternoon, he told a story related by Ken Gordon, the man he succeeded in the Colorado House. One of Gordon's constituents thought he was retiring from politics instead of moving to the Senate -- and when he asked who'd told her that, she said, "That nice Russian boy."
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The crowd gathered in Washington Park to hear Romanoff broke into laughter at the anecdote, as it had already done a couple of times -- and the ease with which he held the attendees' attention, and garnered their affection, should give a chill to Michael Bennet, the Bill Ritter appointee who currently holds the seat Romanoff covets. Bennet is an extremely smart guy, but he can seem a bit bookish and academic -- which makes sense considering his past as the superintendent of Denver Public Schools. In contrast, Romanoff came across as warmer, more accessible, and less of a Bennet clone than he might seem at first blush. His performance made it clear that even though Bennet has the full support of most Democratic Party honchos -- and, as a result, a huge fundraising advantage -- he's in for an extremely challenging primary fight. And that's no Bolshevik.
Part one of Romanoff's Wash Park speech, captured by DenverDirect.TV, is above; look below for part two.