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Romanoff tops Bennet in ‘Super Saturday’ assemblies

Lynn Bartels
The Denver Post
Signs promoting the candidates dot the ground. (Lynn Bartels | The Denver Post)
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Hundreds of Democrats and Republicans packed their county assemblies today, munching free doughnuts and cheering on their favorite candidates.

Billed as “Super Saturday” because so many large counties meet on the same day, the biggest drama was in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary where delegates voted for either Michael Bennet or Andrew Romanoff.

Romanoff beat Bennet during the caucuses in March and continued the trend today.

In Pueblo County, Romanoff receive 68 percent of the vote to Bennet’s 32 percent. In El Paso County, Romanoff bested Bennet 45 percent to 55 percent.

Republicans have different procedures, and there were no votes for candidates in the contested statewide races.

The mood at Republican gatherings was in stark contrast to the last two elections, when the GOP knew it was going to getting a drubbing at the polls.

“The atomosphere is very upbeat. People are excited and it’s been that way all year,” said Dick Wadhams, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, who visited assemblies in Jefferson, Arapahoe, Elbert and Douglas counties.

Other GOP counties meeting Saturday included Denver, Weld and El Paso counties.

The Denver Democratic Party was scheduled to start at 10 a.m. but began 50 minutes late, mostly because of printing glitches. Chairwoman Cindy Lowery said this was the first year that check-in has been done by computer and that the printers were extremely slow in printing credentials.

Still, the mood was upbeat as candidates set up information tables with literature and signs. “No Joken! Working families for Coken!” read a sign for Jennifer Coken, who faces Amber Trujillo and Dan Pabon in the House District 4 primary.

At the county assemblies, delegates in both parties voted for legislative candidates. Candidates had to receive 30 percent of the delegate vote to make the ballot outright.

The Jefferson County GOP event began at 8 a.m. at the El Jebel Shrine near Interstate 70 and Sheridan Boulevard, but even attendees who arrived 30 minutes early still had to park blocks away.

Two-year-old Isabella Leonard waved a sign that read “Go, Daddy, Go” for her father, Tim Leonard, who is running for the state Senate. His primary opponent, Mark Hurlbert, greeted Republicans standing in lines out in the cold, waiting to enter the building and be credentialed.

Jeanne Hines of Arvada arrived early enough to have a front-row seat.

“I feel like I’m going to be part of the solution,” she said.

At the Arapahoe County GOP event at Englewood High School, a faulty microphone gave the candidates fits as they made their pitch to the fired-up crowd.

“I’m going to make sure that the state treasurer’s office works better than this microphone,” said J.J. Ament, one of three Republicans running for the nomination. He faces Walker Stapleton and Ali Hasan.

The winner will take on Democratic treasurer Cary Kennedy, who is running for re-election.

Secretary of State Bernie Buescher spoke on her behalf at the Denver Democratic assembly. He said he and Kennedy divided their appearances – he spoke on his and her behalf at the counties where she was better known and vice versa.

The mention of the attorney general’s race fired up crowds at all the assemblies. Republican Attorney General John Suthers has been panned and praised for joing a lawsuit seeking to overturn health-care reform.

Pat Waak, chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party, said when she announced that Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett was going to beat Suthers, crowds went wild.

Likewise, at the Arapahoe GOP assembly the biggest cheer of the day came when Ament said, “Hear, hear to our attorney general for standing up to Washington.”


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