Last week in this space,Andrew Romanoff insisted that his quick rise in the polls
didn't come as a result of negative attacks against his primary opponent, Michael Bennet. But during a primary-eve conversation, Bennet spokesman Trevor Kincaid predicts that Romanoff's gains will prove temporary -- and the backlash is already underway.
"We're feeling really good about where things stand," Kincaid says. "The voter turnout's been high, and we've hit about 350,000 phone calls so far. We've had about 2,500 volunteers in the office the past three weeks making calls, knocking on doors -- and so many of them have told us they've joined our team because they're tired of the negativity and the attacks and the dishonesty of the Romanoff campaign.
"Andrew has done himself a disservice, especially in the last few weeks, with the way they've been running their campaign," he continues. "It's fired up Michael's supporters, and they're working harder than ever."
In the midst of this final push, the Romanoff camp has run spots saying Bennet took part in looting investors while in the employ of billionaire Phil Anschutz. Then, the New York Times published a story asserting that exotic deals executed by Denver Public Schools during the period when Bennet was superintendent wound up costing DPS plenty.
Kincaid disputes claims that these attacks have done his candidate significant damage.
"We've received dozens and dozens of calls and e-mails from people who, in the past few weeks, have looked at Andrew's campaign and have seen the dishonesty of the ads that have been proven false by the Denver Post" and other news organizations, he maintains. " We've had people saying, 'I used to be a Romanoff supporter, but that's not the kind of politics I want. I want somebody focused on solutions, and that's why I'm going to vote for Michael Bennet."
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Regarding the Times piece, "more people are going to read the Denver Post and watch the local news than are going to read the New York Times," he says. "Our local press has been covering this story for two or three years, and they've done an excellent job with it. The Post made it clear that the Times got it wrong. They've written editorials and done other stories that were much better researched than the New York Times article was. They really showed what Michael was able to do at DPS, and how he put DPS in a stronger position than it was before, saving millions for teachers, classrooms and students."
In addition, Bennet recently took part in a conference call that also featured President Barack Obama. Some candidates across the country have tried to keep their distance from Obama given his currently middling poll numbers, but not Bennet -- although Kincaid makes it clear that even though the campaign is "thrilled to have the President's support, we know this election isn't going to be won or lost based on endorsements.
"It'll be more about Michael's solutions -- what he's doing for Colorado. And people are realizing that a lot of the other candidates in this field are only playing political games."
Update: Today, Westword conducted primary-eve interviews with spokespersons for all six major candidates being tested tomorrow. Click to read posts about Andrew Romanoff, Scott McInnis, Ken Buck, Dan Maes and Jane Norton.