Big-money groups remain on the sidelines as national eyes turn toward Colorado’s U.S. Senate race |

Big-money groups remain on the sidelines as national eyes turn toward Colorado’s U.S. Senate race

Spending by groups like the NRSC and DSCC is typically a telltale sign that a race is competitive. So far, neither has invested much in the contest between Michael Bennet and Joe O’Dea

Jesse Paul and Sandra Fish
The Colorado Sun
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, left, and his Republican challenger, Joe O'Dea.
The Colorado Sun archive

The U.S. Senate race in Colorado has become a darling of the national media. The New York TimesWashington Post and CNN are among the outlets that have parachuted into the state in recent weeks to cover the contest between Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and his Republican challenger, Joe O’Dea, under the notion that the state represents a potential surprise pickup opportunity for the GOP in November.

But heading into Labor Day, the unofficial start of the home stretch of the campaign season, most polling and the money — especially the money — haven’t borne that out. 

Just under $9 million worth of TV ads have aired or been booked in the Senate contest this year, according to a Colorado Sun analysis of contracts filed with the Federal Communications Commission through Wednesday.

That compares with the nearly $46 million worth of TV ads that had aired or were booked before Sept. 1 in Colorado’s 2020 Senate contest between Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and Democratic former Gov. John Hickenlooper. 

“As someone who ran in a competitive congressional (race), when I got the call that the national money wasn’t coming in on my side, that meant that I was cut off and the race was over,” said Sal Pace, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully to represent Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District in 2012. “Both the national parties have decided it’s a waste of money to invest in Colorado, apparently, which means there will be other races that determine the makeup of the U.S. Senate.”

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