Jim DeMint Endorsement Big Boost for Buck Campaign: Is It Enough?

As Don Johnson has noted, U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck earned an important endorsement today from Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and the Senate Conservative Fund:

“There are certainly other good Republicans in this race,” said Senator DeMint, “but I believe Ken Buck is a conservative standout who will fight the establishment in both parties when he gets to Washington.”

At lunch I joined the conference call, and was able to ask Senator DeMint if there was concern about the Buck campaign’s ability to raise money to wage a successful general election campaign. I paraphrase, but his response essentially was:

Ken has had to do it the hard way. He has had to build grassroots support. We are going to make sure he has everything he needs to take his campaign to the next level. Ken is already polling ahead, and people largely don’t know who he is. That’s good news: because it means he has room to expand his lead.

There was a similar phenomenon with Marco Rubio, who started his campaign the hard way building grassroots support, but last quarter he raised $3.6 million. Once people get a chance to meet Ken, hear him speak, and hopefully see some commercials, his support is going to grow.

DeMint is correct about the fact that Ken Buck is less well known than the other leading candidates. The latest Rasmussen survey shows that 17 percent of likely Colorado voters have a strong opinion (either way) of Buck–compared to 36 percent for Republican rival Norton, 38 percent for Democrat Andrew Romanoff, and 50 percent for incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet.

While Senator DeMint noted the importance of raising Buck’s name ID, he also noted that “big name ID isn’t going to win it anymore. People are more engaged and informed now…. What [Ken] has done is what has to be done in this new era: You have to win the hearts and minds of those most active in party.”

Based on my own impressions following the race, I believe there will be very little difference in the voting records of a Senator Jane Norton or a Senator Ken Buck. But the big selling point for DeMint is that he believes Buck would join a small number of Republican Senators who would bring strong, principled conservative leadership to tackle the tough fiscal crisis facing our nation–who aren’t afraid to “buck” the GOP establishment as needed.

“We only need four or five Senators up here, and the Party will follow,” DeMint said.

Combined with yesterday’s news that Jane Norton plans to petition on the ballot rather than go through the delegate assembly process, the DeMint endorsement marks another positive week for the Buck campaign. Ken Buck plans to release 1st quarter campaign fundraising numbers tomorrow.

Comments

  1. kevinallen says

    Wait until Ken releases his Q1 numbers, the tired question of ‘can he raise enough money’ will be answered. Folks will get behind the Republican, whoever it is- we just need to make sure it is the right kind of Republican, and that Republican is Ken Buck!

  2. bjwilson83 says

    I completely agree with Kevin. And we shouldn’t overlook the fact that the support of the Senate Conservatives Fund along with the $500,000 tv and direct mail campaign by Americans for Job Security makes Buck more than competitive with Norton – after all, 40% of her funding comes from out of state too!

  3. marty5539@gmail.com says

    I am perplexed by your comment, Ben, that you believe there would be very little difference between a Norton voting record and a Buck voting record. I respectfully disagree.

  4. Karl says

    To Bjwilson83
    Stick to facts please do not just pull fiqures out of the air.
    83% of Jane Norton Money comes from in the state of Colorado. Look it up!

  5. Harry says

    Karl:
    Do you mean 83% of her donors come from Colorado or do you mean 83% of her money comes from Colorado?
    There is a big difference.
    DC lobbiest types, like Norton’s brother in law who makes his money shilling for big Tobacco, tend to have more money to spread around to make friends that they can have do them favors when they get elected.

  6. Keith Olson says

    I am not too impressed by Jane Norton’s ability to raise money. She went through $1.3 million dollars and lost the straw poll and obviously was unable to garner enough support to go through the assembly process. So how exactly did her large bankroll impair Ken Buck’s campaign. End of 1st quarter report shows cash on hand for Norton $600,000; cash on hand for Buck $400,000. With DeMint’s endorsement and Buck chasing Norton from the assembly process I believe the money will be more equitable going forward, which cannot be a good thing for Norton. That was her only advantage.

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