Romanoff says job prospects didn’t influence him
Associated Press Writer
DENVER – Andrew Romanoff insists that the prospect of a White House job played no role in his decision to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.
Romanoff said Thursday that the fact that a White House staffer told him about three possible jobs a few weeks before he mounted his Senate campaign didn’t sway him. But Romanoff didn’t answer questions about whether he thinks the White House intended to keep him out of the race by offering him work.
“Look, I’m running for this office because I believe I’m the best candidate,” he said.
Romanoff said he decided to run for the Senate seat in late August 2009. Sometime the following month – before he announced his candidacy – Romanoff said he got a call from White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina.
“He informed me that the White House would support Sen. Bennet. I informed him that I had a made a decision to run for the U.S. Senate. He suggested three positions that might be available to me were I not pursuing the Senate race. He e-mailed me descriptions of those positions. I informed him that I would not change course. At no point was I promised a job,” Romanoff said.
Romanoff, former speaker of the Colorado House, confirmed that he had applied for a job in the new administration in January 2009.
Romanoff kept mum about the job discussions until Wednesday, when White House officials confirmed them.
The talks have raised national concerns after the Obama administration acknowledged it approached Pennsylvania Senate candidate Joe Sestak about backing out of a Democratic primary in favor of an unpaid position on a federal advisory board.
Romanoff’s conversations with the administration had been reported in the Colorado press nearly a year ago but Romanoff waited until this week to confirm them. He said he kept quiet because he didn’t want to “politicize” the conversations and says he still doesn’t.
He would not say whether he would still consider working in the administration if he does not prevail in an Aug. 10 primary.