Long-shot Senate candidate Buck hits bull’s-eye in Colo. | VailDaily.com

Long-shot Senate candidate Buck hits bull’s-eye in Colo.

Allison Sherry
The Denver Post
United States Senate candidate Ken Buck introduced himself to Aurora Republicans attending a caucus at Lansing Elementary School Tuesday night, March 16, 2010. Karl Gehring, The Denver Post

Ken Buck, once thought to be a dead-in-the-water Republican U.S. Senate candidate with laughable fundraising totals and little establishment GOP support, has surged to life in a matter of days thanks to a handful of prominent endorsements pulling in big cash and – more important – national distinction.

With almost $600,000 in a television advertising campaign from the Virginia-based Americans for Job Security, a nod Wednesday from conservative lion Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and his straw-poll win at the state party’s March caucuses, Buck is suddenly the candidate that party chatterboxes are talking about.

The Weld County district attorney’s renaissance has brought the national spotlight to the Colorado Republican Senate primary, which had been viewed as former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton versus a band of underfunded unknowns.

Now, Colorado finds itself alongside Florida, Kentucky and Arizona, where long-shot Senate candidates bolstered by Tea Party voters and far-right connections have surged into contention, challenging more established Republicans such as Sen. John McCain and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

“Colorado’s one of the top races in the country; it’s a big deal,” said Matt Hoskins, an aide to DeMint who runs the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee raising money for candidates across the country.

The fund has given money to those in competition with candidates endorsed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, like Norton.The fund has given $343,000 to Marco Rubio, the Tea Party candidate polling ahead of Crist in Florida’s Senate race.

“You have a Democrat there (in Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet) that many believe is very vulnerable, and the state is a swing state.”

For more of this Denver Post story, http://www.denverpost.com/ci_14886345

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