What justifications will the NRSC offer for backing Jane Norton for Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat over a series of Republican primary challengers (e.g. Ryan Frazier and Ken Buck? A major one will be an alleged fundraising prowess that her rivals supposedly lack.
Of course, Norton has never won election on her own. The only time she ran for statewide office was on the coattails of popular incumbent Bill Owens in 2002. But she did have her own committee “Friends of Jane Norton” (search the Secretary of State website, be sure to check the “Include Terminated?” box). She edged out the Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Bill Thiebault in total fundraising: $99,471 to $90,085.
But put her modest advantage in context. In a race that Owens ultimately won with more than 62 percent of the vote, the incumbent Republican governor outraised Democratic challenger Rollie Heath on the order of $5.6 million to $1.25 million — by more than 4 times. Meanwhile, Norton barely outraised her counterpart Thiebault.
Does Norton have a prolific fundraising track record? Hardly. Why then should she merit an NRSC endorsement more than any and all of the candidates currently in the field? The truth is she shouldn’t. The very notion of a Beltway coronation when other hard-working candidates already are in the race should be offensive to Colorado Republicans. But the fact that the one coronated has never in her life raised as much for her own campaigns as those already in the race have makes the coronation not only offensive, but also absurd.
Look, I understand that fundraising is very important, but I think there is more to the story than the first quarter totals — especially when at least one of the candidates in the field (Ryan Frazier) is building his fundraising from scratch.
But if we’re going to play along with those who would say the NRSC needs to back someone now in order to raise funds faster than we’ve seen so far from Buck and Frazier, they might have had a leg to stand on with Bob Beauprez. Not Jane Norton.