Andrew Romanoff spokesman calls Michael Bennet camp's ad complaints a "red herring"

Update below: At 11 a.m. today, Andrew Romanoff will be roaming the 16th Street Mall, shaking hands and explaining to pedestrians why it's important they vote for him in Tuesday's primary. And Romanoff spokesman Roy Teicher expresses confidence about victory even as he dismisses complaints from the Michael Bennet campaign about negative campaigning.

"The momentum is pretty clear, and it's all very encouraging," Teicher says about Romanoff's rise to competitiveness in several recent polls. "Now, the important thing for us is to keep our eye on the ball and continue to work hard -- tap into the enthusiasm that's out there. We expect that it will be a very exciting evening tomorrow night, and we expect to win. But there's no strategy at this point other than to continue doing what we're doing."

As for those claims of negativity expressed in this space a short time ago by Bennet spokesman Trevor Kincaid, Teicher dismisses them as "a little bit of a red herring. I think if you look objectively at the ads on both sides, our ads are cited, they're fact-checked, they're sourced, and they're honestly quite revealing. Put that side by side with the Social Security privatization accusations from the other camp, which are absolutely baseless, absolutely false. That sort of defines what we're talking about."

What about the New York Times article asserting that complex deals put forward during the time Bennet was superintendent of Denver Public Schools wound up costing DPS a lot of dough? Kincaid feels more people in Colorado read the Denver Post, which disagreed with many of the Times' conclusions. Teicher's take?

"One would have to immediately ask why the Denver Post chose not to run the New York Times story in the first place. It's a story that has spectacular consequences for taxpayers, dealing with millions upon millions of dollars that were mismanaged. And for the Denver Post to take a pass on that is, I would say, curious."

After all, he goes on, the topic of the Times piece is "absolutely related" to the subject of controversial anti-Bennet ads in which the Romanoff camp accuses the senator of helping to loot loads of cash while on the payroll of billionaire Phil Anschutz.

According to Teicher, "you're still speaking about the Senator's comfort level with Wall Street culture, with Wall Street deals, with exotic Wall Street financing. Whether it's his work with Anschutz or his work with the school district, a lot of people have been hurt. You can't escape that conclusion."

In recent days, President Barack Obama took part in a conference call in which he touted Bennet's candidacy. Teicher can't quantify how much that might have boosted Bennet, but he says, "Andrew has tremendous respect for the President, and he'll work closely with the President once he becomes Colorado's next senator."

At the same time, though, "Andrew's been up against every establishment force out there. So the fact that the DNC, on the last weekend, conducted myriad phone banks from Washington, D.C., is not a surprise."

What about mixed signals from the Romanoff campaign about whether he will or won't take political-action-committee money if he wins the primary -- moolah he's loudly declined to accept up until this point. That, too, is a herring with a rosy complexion, Teicher insists.

"Andrew's stance is very, very clear," he says. "He has not taken PAC money, and he will not take PAC money in the general election. Whatever funds the party contributes, or any expenditures it makes on Andrew's behalf, will only be from personal contributions, with PAC money having been segregated out."

Are Romanoff's backers afraid that given the ugliness of the primary, the winner tomorrow night will be so damaged that it'll doom him come November?

"That's a fear we don't have," Teicher says. "The Democratic Party will be united -- and it's not unusual for a campaign to become heated, to become spirited."

Those are two nice words for it.

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, Dan Maes and Jane Norton.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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