Romanoff on accepting PAC money: 'I was wrong'
By Felicia Sonmez
U.S. Senate candidate and former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D) said Wednesday that he had erred in accepting money through a leadership PAC.
"I believe I was wrong then, and I'm right now, and more candidates for public office should follow my lead," Romanoff said on ABC/Washington Post's "Top Line" program.
Romanoff has made his opposition to accepting PAC money a cornerstone of his upstart bid against Sen. Michael Bennet (D). Romanoff hit on the theme this week in his first TV ad of the race, a 30-second spot in which Romanoff says that he won't "take a dime" of special interest money in his campaign. But beginning in September 2004, Romanoff accepted money through his personal PAC, the Romanoff Leadership Fund. He shut down the fund in January.
Romanoff has consistently trailed Bennet in the polls; a recent Survey USA poll showed him 17 points behind. He also faced a 7-to-1 disadvantage in cash on hand as of late March, although he received a boost in late June when former president Bill Clinton announced his endorsement of Romanoff.
Meanwhile, Bennet -- who was appointed by Gov. Bill Ritter (D) in January 2009 -- put up his latest TV ad of the race this week. The spot highlights his triumph over dyslexia as a child and his efforts to "fix a broken Washington for Colorado."
Asked whether his campaign has seen an increase in support and fundraising since receiving Clinton's endorsement, Romanoff replied, "Yes and yes." He said he's confident he'll win the Democratic nod in August and noted that "as President Clinton said in his endorsement last week, I've also got the best chance to hold this seat in November." Without naming Bennet, Romanoff charged that his opponent "voted to keep banks too big to fail" and has "become one of the top recipients of Wall Street cash" in Congress.
Bennet's spokesperson, Trevor Kincaid, said that Romanoff had his facts wrong.
"Michael Bennet has consistently stood up to big financial institutions, fighting for smart, effective regulation and stronger protections for consumers," Kincaid said, noting that the financial regulatory reform bill that Bennet voted for in May helps reduce the likelihood of bank failures.
Kincaid also noted that other senators in competitive races have taken in more money from financial sector donors this cycle, and pointed out that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has collected nearly four times as much from financial sector donors as Bennet has.
Mail-in ballots will be sent to voters the week of July 19 ahead of the August 10 primary. On the Republican side, former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton (R) is facing off against Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck (R), who is holding a rally and fundraiser Thursday with Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).
July 8, 2010; 3:30 PM ET
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