NYT hyperbole alert: Romanoff run ‘deeply dividing’ Colo. Democrats

The media loves the Romanoff insurgency. The New York Times ran with the story today. What’s the story, exactly?

Former state Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff is looking for a job after wiling away years as a kind of university teacher / public-minded / likeable one-time local notable. He may have asked for a job from the Obama Administration. Or the Administration may have offered him one. The alleged job negotiations have been political maneuvering on the part of either Romanoff or the Obama Administration. “Give me a job and I stay out of the race” versus “Stay out of the race and we give you a job.” Sources for the story– top insiders close to the action– remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the subject. In the end, Romanoff announced he was running for U.S. Senate against fellow Democrat Michael Bennet, who was appointed by Gov. Ritter to the seat in January and has been building loyalty and name recognition and a campaign war chest ever since. Romanoff’s challenge could be seen as an act of rebellion. The state’s Democratic party might be thrown out of whack as a result. Republicans have a real opening. Or not at all.

Today’s New York Times:

Democrats in the state are deeply divided, and Republicans see an opportunity to break a recent Democratic hold on statewide offices. The reason for the change? Andrew Romanoff, a popular former state lawmaker, has begun a Democratic primary challenge to Mr. Bennet…

The primary is nearly a year away, but the candidacy of Mr. Romanoff, a former two-term speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, is forcing Democrats to choose sides. The two men have no glaring policy differences, but the contested primary, some Democrats fear, could weaken the party in the general election.

There is this sentence: “The two men have no glaring policy differences” and then there’s all the rest of the sentences. But it’s the one about them having no glaring policy differences that matters.

The Hillary versus Barack presidential primary battle to beat all primary battles didn’t tear the party apart and result in a GOP win. On the contrary, the two strong candidates brought out the voters and energized the party and got people interested in politics and policy.

An interesting part of the story, as was the case in the presidential primary and is increasingly the case in campaigns across the country and particularly here in the land of Tom Tancredo, concerns the Hispanic vote.

“Andrew has developed relationships within the Hispanic community over the past couple of decades,” said Polly Baca, a longtime former Colorado legislator, who is advising Mr. Romanoff.

Mr. Bennet has been making inroads among Hispanics, some of whom are still wary of Mr. Romanoff because of his prominent role during a special legislative session in 2006, in which tough immigration measures were passed.

“Senator Bennet has told us that he is willing to lose an election over immigration reform,” said Jessie Ulibarri, a Latino Democratic advocate. “It is comforting to have a senator with that stance.”

A bigger question than whether or not the Romanoff challenge is “deeply dividing” or “splitting” the Democratic party is how Colorado Republican Senate candidates Jane Norton, Ken Buck and Ryan Frasier are courting the Hispanic vote. There you might actually find some “glaring policy differences” that speak to the state of Colorado and national politics and directly concern issues–immigration reform, health reform, education reform, for example– that are and will be determining party affiliations and incumbency for decades.

In other words, Why does the GOP hate Latinos?

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About the Author

John Tomasic

Writer, editor, teacher, web wrangler. He has worked for art, business, culture, politics publications, five universities and a UN war crimes commission. @johntomasic
jtomasic@coloradoindependent.com | 720-432-2128 |

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