New York Times: Buck and Bennet down to wire amid flurry of cash

In an online blog post this morning, New York Times reporter Michael Shear told the nation what everyone in Colorado already knows–the senate race between incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican challenger Ken Buck is attracting tens of millions of dollars in outside spending to a race that will come down to making sure every vote is counted accurately–if not twice.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if this one goes into overtime,” one unidentified Democratic strategist told the paper.

The Times notes that both sides have made major missteps in the race, but notes that the momentum has shifted toward Bennet as Buck’s mistakes have come later in the game and provided better fodder for the talkshows.

Among the missteps cited by The Times were the “buyers’ remorse” rape case, comments on Meet the Press regarding homosexuality, and his claim that global warming is a hoax.

Both men have unwillingly provided ammunition to the other side. Early in the campaign, Mr. Bennet said in a speech that the administration has “nothing to show for” the billions in federal debt. That comment has showed up repeatedly in ads, despite Mr. Bennet’s argument that it was taken out of context.

But Mr. Buck has made more campaign mistakes recently. The comment about gays and alcoholism made headlines for several days, as did a comment that suggested he thought global warming was “the greatest hoax that has been perpetrated.” Mr. Buck’s campaign later clarified that he believes global warming is real, just that it is not caused by humans.

Both comments provided further openings for the Democratic party’s chief argument against Mr. Buck: that he is “too extreme” for Colorado.

“Given Ken Buck’s opposition to Social Security, Medicare, and students loans, holding onto this seat is critical,” said Eric Schultz, a spokesman for the DSCC. “This is a race between someone who has proven in his short time in Washington to be an effective reformer versus an extremist who can’t seem to pull his foot out of his mouth.”

Since his Tea Party-backed victory in the Republican primary against the Republican Party’s preferred candidate, Mr. Buck has been pushing back against the extremist label. His campaign — and the independent groups spending on his behalf — have sought to cast Mr. Bennet’s views as the ones outside the mainstream.

Those views of Bennet’s that might be outside the mainstream, according to the article, are his support of health care reform and his support, generally, for President Obama and his agenda.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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