Romanoff questions Bennet's campaign contributions in Steamboat visit

Democratic Senate candidate points out oil, gas contributions to opponent



Andrew Romanoff


U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet


■ Learn more about U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff, a Denver Democrat, at Learn about the 2010 campaign of U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, also a Denver Democrat, at

■ For information about Republican senatorial candidate and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, visit Learn about Republican senatorial candidate and former Colorado lieutenant governor Jane Norton atwww.janenortonfor...> www.janenortonfor....

— On the day he unveiled TV ads criticizing the influence of special interests in Washington, U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff cited contributions from the oil and gas industry to his opponent, incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet, during a visit to Steamboat Springs.

Romanoff talk­ed with a crowd of about 20 at Ciao Gelato restaurant downtown Wednesday morning. Speaking in the context of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, energy policy and campaign contributions, Romanoff said Bennet has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from oil and gas industries.

“My opponent in this race is now No. 2 in Senate Democrats (in contributions) … from big oil,” Romanoff said. “That’s not a competition I want to win.”

According to the campaign finance website, as of June 13, Bennet had received $71,120 in contributions from the oil and gas industry during the 2010 election cycle.

That placed him fourth among Senate Democrats and 12th among senators overall, according to the site. Atop the site’s list was U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, an Arkansas Democrat who had received $329,650 from oil and gas industries in this election cycle.

Romanoff’s campaign said Bennet’s No. 2 ranking is among Democratic senators who aren’t retiring.

Byron Dorgan, of North Dakota, is not seeking re-election, and Arlen Specter, of Pennsylvania, lost a May primary to Joe Sestak. Dorgan received more than $93,000 from oil and gas industries and Specter received nearly $130,000, according to the website.

“These special interests would not spend millions of dollars on congressional campaigns if they’re not getting anything in return from these candidates,” Romanoff said.

Bennet’s campaign rebutted the implications of Romanoff’s challenge.

“Michael (Ben­net) has repeatedly stood up to big oil companies in the Senate and fought for clean, renewable energy,” spokesman Trevor Kincaid said. “He is focused on solutions that will create jobs by developing our clean energy economy.”

Bennet joined U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., last month in successfully voting against a resolution that would have blocked some U.S. Environmental Protection Agency clean car standards and regulations of carbon dioxide emissions.

Romanoff called the BP spill and cleanup efforts “our Sputnik moment” Wednesday, comparing a need to “revolutionize the way we use energy in America and around the world” to science and technology efforts spurred by the Soviet Union’s 1957 launch of the Sputnik 1 satellite.

Romanoff fa­­ces Bennet in the Aug. 10 primary. Monday is the last day for people to register to vote in the primary, or for registered voters to change their party affiliation. Voters registered as unaffiliated must affiliate with a party to receive a ballot, but can do so until Aug. 10.

County residents can register at the Routt County Courthouse in downtown Steamboat or online through the county website,

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 or e-mail


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