DENVER- Despite a record-breaking recent fundraising haul and millions of dollars in the bank, U.S. Senator Michael Bennet is making a panic-tinged digital fundraising pitch for his reelection campaign, citing months-old polling data that shows the two-term Democrat trailing a generic Republican opponent in the November election.
“Folks, we’re falling behind,” begins the Bennet for Colorado campaign’s urgent Facebook fundraising ad. “One poll showed Michael losing by one point to a Republican opponent, outlets keep naming Michael’s Senate seat as one of the ‘most likely to flip,’ and National Republicans have already started hiring organizers on the ground to flip this seat,” warns the ad, which urges Bennet supporters to “rush” a donation to help close the gap before it “gets too wide to overcome.”
But before they start pulling out checkbooks, potential Bennet backers should know the dire warning of “falling behind” comes right on the heels of a record-breaking money haul. The Bennet campaign reported bringing in over $2.4 million in the first three months of 2022, for a total of over $6 million in the bank. As reported by Colorado Politics, the haul set a record for the most money raised by an incumbent Colorado Senator in the first quarter of an election year.
The claim that Bennet is losing to a Republican opponent comes from February polling that indeed shows Bennet trailing a generic Republican candidate roughly 45% to 46%, a one point difference that falls well within the poll’s margin of error, meaning the “gap” the Bennet campaign is worried about getting “too wide to overcome” is basically a statistical dead heat. That doesn’t mean Bennet shouldn’t be worried. The highly regarded Cook Political Report in February shifted the Colorado U.S. Senate seat from “Solid D” to “Likely D,” a small, though positive shift in favor of Republicans. An April National Public Radio analysis of the 10 U.S. Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 does indeed include Bennet’s race, though Colorado fails to make the cut in a similar CNN analysis.
Bennet, who is often referred to as “The Accidental Senator” was appointed to his seat in 2009 by then Governor Bill Ritter. He then won the 2010 election, squeaking by his Republican opponent by a 48% to 46% margin, and won reelection in 2016.
Bennet has no Democratic primary opponent and will face off in November against the winner of the Republican primary election, set for June 28 between businessman Joe O’Dea and State Representative Ron Hanks.
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