Romanoff to visit Steamboat Springs Tuesday |

Romanoff to visit Steamboat Springs Tuesday

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate touring state after staff hires

Mike Lawrence

— U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff is slated to visit Steamboat Springs on Tuesday as part of a regional tour that follows the addition of some well-known political names to his campaign staff.

Romanoff, a Denver Democrat seeking to challen­ge current U.S. Sen. Michael Ben­net in a primary, announced last week the addition of four consultants: Joe Trippi, who managed Howard Dean's presidential campaign in 2004; Patrick Caddell, a former pollster for President Jimmy Carter and a frequent commentator on the Fox News Channel; Democratic Party strategist Celinda Lake, who recently worked on the unsuccessful, high-profile U.S. Senate campaign of Martha Coakley in Massachusetts; and direct-mail consultant Liz Chadderdon. Romanoff is scheduled to meet with the public at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat at 1009 Lincoln Ave.

He said Sunday that the four hires are "very talented and creative people who obviously have a great deal of expertise," but he clarified that their political views are not necessarily his own. Caddell, for example, long has been an outspoken critic of the Democratic Party, including while speaking on Fox.

"I'm the candidate here — I stand behind my own words, and I'm running on my own record," Romanoff said. "We've engaged thousands of people in this campaign because we value their advice, but at the end of the day, the buck stops with me."

Romanoff was state Speaker of the House from 2005 to 2009 and served a total of four terms in the state Legislature. He faces a daunting task in challenging Bennet, who has supporters including President Barack Obama and, as of Saturday, the League of Conservation Voters. Gov. Bill Ritter appointed Bennet, a former superintendent of Denver Public Schools, to the Senate seat about a year ago after Obama promoted then-Sen. Ken Salazar to interior secretary.

Romanoff has campaigned so far on a platform of special interest reform and, he said Sunday, changing a "fundamentally broken and corrupt Congress (that) has become in some ways a wholly owned subsidiary of the special interests that bankroll its campaigns."

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He cited Congressional health care debates as an example.

"Most Americans want reform, but what they've gotten from Congress instead is a profile in cowardice," Romanoff said. "Somebody in the Senate could have stood up and said, 'If you want my vote, you're going to need to take the pork out, put the public option back in and remove the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies.'"

Spokesman Dean Toda said Romanoff's Tuesday visit is part of a statewide swing that also includes stops this week in Vail, Glenwood Springs, Aspen, Pueblo, Durango, Cortez and more.

Catherine Carson, chairwoman of the Routt County Democratic Party, said Routt County residents could have a chance to see both Democratic U.S. Senate candidates before party caucuses March 16. Carson said Bennet has tentatively scheduled a visit to Steamboat for Feb. 15.

"Everyone loves Steamboat when there's a campaign going on," she said.

If you go

What: Visit by Andrew Romanoff, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate and former state Speaker of the House

Where: Artists’ Gallery of Steamboat, 1009 Lincoln Ave.

When: 1 p.m. Tuesday

Online: Learn more about Romanoff on the Web at Learn about the 2010 campaign of current U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, whom Romanoff would challenge in a likely Democratic primary, at