By Gene Davis, DENVER DAILY NEWS
Democrat Senate candidate Michael Bennet yesterday slammed his Republican rival, Ken Buck, for endorsing Dan Maes, the Republican gubernatorial candidate who has received criticism for likening Denver’s bike share program to a “U.N. bicycle takeover conspiracy.”
Meanwhile, Buck’s campaign sent out a press release blasting Bennet for approving pay raises and fighting against pay freezes for “federal bureaucrats.” The trading of attacks came as a new Reuters poll showed Buck with a nine-point lead over Bennet in the Senate race.
A press release sent by Bennet’s campaign argued that Buck’s judgment and character have been called into question by his endorsement of Maes. Buck said that Coloradans should “be there” for Maes during a campaign stop in Colorado Springs.
“Does Ken also think Denver’s bike sharing program is part of a nefarious U.N. conspiracy to subvert personal freedoms– Or does he simply back Maes because of their shared support for a radical personhood amendment that would ban common forms of birth control–”, said a statement from Bennet campaign spokesman Trevor Kincaid.
Buck spokesman Owen Loftus said they weren’t concerned about the Bennet campaign’s effort to link Buck to Maes and some of his controversial stances. He added that “Bennet doesn’t get what Coloradans are concerned about,” and that the Democrat also has “some interesting people on his side,” such as President Barack Obama.
Buck’s campaign yesterday attacked Bennet for voting against two measures that would have frozen federal pay for federal employees. The average federal employee makes $66,010 while the average American employed in the private sector makes $42,290 in salary, according to Buck’s campaign.
“Giving pay raises to federal employees is a perfect example of why Americans are fed-up with Washington,” said a statement from Buck. “Federal workers make 30-40 percent more than private sector workers for performing identical jobs. We just can’t afford this type of spending.”
But Kincaid pointed out that Bennet introduced a bill to freeze Congressional office budgets while the economy struggles, voted for legislation to eliminate the automatic pay raise for members of Congress, personally refused a pay raise and does not accept federal health benefits.
“Ken Buck on the other hand took 113 days off to campaign and still collected a salary at the taxpayer’s expense, he also ballooned his office budget by over 30 percent Ń that isn’t fiscal responsibility,” said Kincaid.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released yesterday showed Buck with a 49-to-40-percent lead over Bennet in the Senate race. The poll interviewed 601 registered Colorado voters from Aug. 20-22.
Other notable poll results are:
Ą Democrat John Hickenlooper is enjoying an eight-point lead over Maes, who is likely losing some possible votes to conservative third-party candidate Tom Tancredo. The same poll said that if the race were just between Maes and Hickenlooper, they would be tied at 45 percent apiece;
* Seventy-six percent of Republicans said they were “certain to vote” compared to 59 percent of Democrats;
* Half of registered voters think that things in Colorado are on the wrong track, 42 percent think the state is heading in the right direction;
* Ten percent of registered voters name illegal immigration as one of the state’s biggest problems.