Andrew Romanoff more than a "nice Russian boy"

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."

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.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts