Update below: The Democratic senate race between Andrew Romanoff and Michael Bennet in advance of tomorrow's primary has been a truckload of ugly -- and the Republican matchup's offered more of the same.
Jane Norton has spent week after week slamming Ken Buck -- and spokeswoman Cinamon Watson keeps doing so in the campaign's waning hours.
In Watson's view, "the momentum is all on Jane's side over the past several weeks. And over the weekend, hundreds of volunteers knocked on doors and made calls for Jane, and fundraising has been going gangbusters."
One person deserving credit for this late windfall, Watson says, is Senator John McCain, who appeared alongside Norton this weekend. McCain is a divisive presence in conservative circles, with sizable chunks of the Tea Party and 9.12 Project crowds blaming his allegedly too-liberal policies for hastening Barack Obama's White House residency. But Watson doesn't acknowledge any doubts about pairing her candidate with the Arizona senator.
The weekend events with McCain "were positive for a couple of reasons," Watson says. "We had some very successful fundraising -- and Senator McCain pointed out where Ken Buck's been weak, and where he's flip-flopped. He talked about a cost-benefit analysis with terrorists, and the senator pointed out that Ken Buck's wrong about that. And he talked about how Ken is not a fiscal conservative, based on how much his budget's increased" during his stint as district attorney for Weld County. "If you ask him, it's up 40 percent, and if you look at the actual numbers, it's up 50 percent. And pointing out things like that are very helpful."
Granted, "John McCain and Jane Norton do not agree on every issue," she continues. "But on some things, they do agree -- like the war on terror and no earmarks. And this was an opportunity to point out those discrepancies in Ken Buck's record."
Norton's taken heat in some quarters for focusing an ad campaign on joking comments Buck made at an Independence Institute bash; there, he talked about "Weld County bullshit" and said people should vote for him because he doesn't wear high heels. But Watson thinks the Buck camp's gripes are the equivalent of a mud wrestler calling his competitor dirty.
"Jane has taken on over $2 million in negative ads from Ken Buck that started in January," she declares. "So to say it's something new is flat-out wrong. That money's definitely had an impact, and it's lended legitimacy to his candidacy. But as the media and voters started focusing on the race, they began to realize that he isn't the same candidate on tape than he is when he's caught on tape. He has a long list of flip-flops and foot-in-mouth moments. And for a lot of people, that's not the type of person you want in the U.S. Senate representing you."
In contrast, Watson says, "Jane Norton has never wavered on her principles, or on the agenda she'll set forth if elected. That's why I think that after the primary, Republicans will come together with independents and probably some Democrats with the goal of taking our country back."
Update: Today, Westword conducted primary-eve interviews with spokespersons for all six major candidates being tested tomorrow. Click to read posts about Michael Bennet, Scott McInnis, Ken Buck, Andrew Romanoff and Dan Maes.