Jane Norton opts for non-conventional campaign
By Leslie Jorgensen
Former Colorado Lt. Governor Jane Norton, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate, recently swerved her campaign off the caucus-to-assembly route to the petition avenue. Norton said she wants to focus on her potential Democratic opponent — either appointed Democratic U.S. Senator Michael Bennet or his rival, former Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff.
Because of the change in strategy, the campaign recently hired state Senator Josh Penry as campaign manager, replacing Norm Cummings, and tapped Rich Beeson as campaign consultant.
Norton is running against former state Senator Tom Wiens, who is also petitioning onto the GOP primary ballot, and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, businessman Cleve Tidwell and patent attorney Steve Barton, who are taking their candidacies through the caucus-to-assembly route.
Like many candidates, Norton is constantly on the campaign trail and almost never at headquarters. We found her with several campaign staffers at Cool River Café where more than a hundred women gathered to sign petitions, contribute and support Norton.
In the mix of campaign volunteers and staffers were Denver realtor Edie Marks, former First Lady Frances Owens and daughter Monica Owens, Lynn Cottrell, Marti Albright Whitmore, Cheri Offner and Norton’s campaign volunteer coordinator Mary K. Lowe, sister of former Colorado Governor Bill Owens, deputy campaign manager Cinamon Watson, and organizational director Amy Attwood.
Norton’s U.S. Senate campaign staff: (Front) Penny Osborne, left, scheduler; state Sen. Josh Penry, campaign manager; Michael Findlay; deputy communications director; Amy Attwood, organization director; and Brett Bergman, a field director. (Back) Stormy Siess, left, a field director; Mary K. Lowe, volunteer coordinator; Tatianna Gruen, office manager; Barb Jenkins, treasurer; Tyler Sandberg, a field director; Shannon Ulrich, national finance director; Aindriu Colgan, a field director; Katie Behnke, finance director; Cinamon Watson, deputy campaign manager; Cahleen Hegarty, deputy finance director; and Alan Nygen, communications researcher.
Photo by Leslie Jorgensen/The Colorado Statesman
Despite the packed campaign schedule, Norton outpaces everyone on the campaign in communicating on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. On the campaign trail, the candidate might forget lip gloss — but never the BlackBerry.
The Norton campaign headquarters is located in a small shopping plaza on Arapahoe Road, a few blocks West of I-25. The headquarters’ walls feature a Norton for U.S. Senate campaign banner, photos of the candidate and two “stars” bulletin boards featuring photos of the campaign’s volunteers.
The office is dominated by a huge table that’s usually manned by volunteers and staff producing campaign mailers and assembling petition packages. On this morning, the table is commandeered by Penry, who with Watson, is conducting a staff meeting to assess the petition progress and events for the upcoming weekend.
Surrounding the table are staffers Barb Jenkins, treasurer; Katie Behnke, Shannon Ulrich and Cahleen Hegarty, the fundraising team; Brett Bergman, Stormy Siess, Tyler Sandberg and Aindriu Colgan, field directors; Michael Findlay, deputy communications director and the candidate’s driver; Alan Nygen, communications researcher; Penny Osborne, scheduler; Tatianna Gruen, office manager; Attwood and Lowe.
In the final two weeks to petition onto the ballot, Norton’s U.S. Senate campaign meets to strategize the drive, deputy campaign manager Cinamon Watson, left, campaign manager state Senator Josh Penry and field director Stormy Siess.
Photo by Leslie Jorgensen/The Colorado Statesman
Attwood outlines her petition plans — from staging volunteers at gun shows to political events to churches. The same strategy was used by 5th District Congressman Doug Lamborn, 6th District Congressman Mike Coffman and his predecessor, former Congressman Tom Tancredo, who, as candidates, petitioned onto the ballot.
To petition onto the primary ballot, Norton needs a minimum of 1,500 valid Republican signatures on petitions from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts by May 27.
So what’s the inside scoop on the campaign staff? Here are their responses to The Colorado Statesman questionnaire.
1) Who on the campaign would be able to change a flat tire?
2) Who is most likely to get a speeding ticket?
3) Do you have nicknames for staff members? If so, what are they? Why?
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton looks overwhelmed as women applaud her campaign and sign petitions at Cool River Café.
Photo by Chloe Silliman
4) Who on staff eats the most fast food?
5) Who is most likely to bring sweets into the office?
6) Who knows the campaign staff’s sweet tooth best?
7) If the candidate can’t talk with the media, who is trusted with that?
8) What is the strangest thing the candidate brought home after an event?
9) What book is Norton reading?
10) What music energizes or soothes the candidate’s soul?
11) What is the first thing Norton does when she arrives home from traveling the campaign trail?