Former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday split from national Democratic leaders by throwing his support to former Colorado Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who is challenging appointed Sen. Michael Bennet in a primary.
The move won’t come as welcome news to the top party officials who are firmly behind Bennet’s bid for a full term this fall. A spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee declined to comment on Clinton’s endorsement.
Before Romanoff announced his campaign for Senate earlier this year, several of the party’s top brass tried to discourage him from running and forcing the appointed Senator into a bruising primary ahead of what is expected to be a competitive general election. According to recently filed campaign finance reports, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had already spent more than $71,000 in coordinated expenditures to help Bennet as of May 31.
Clinton sent out a fundraising pitch for Romanoff on Tuesday, one day before the end of the June fundraising quarter.
In the letter, Clinton talks about meeting Romanoff during his 1992 presidential campaign and praised the Senate candidate for his “integrity, courage and compassion.”
“Simply put, Andrew Romanoff is one of the best legislative leaders in the United States,” Clinton wrote.
The Colorado primary will take place Aug. 10. A SurveyUSA poll commissioned by the Denver Post taken earlier this month showed Bennet ahead of Romanoff 53 percent to 36 percent in the primary.