DENVER – After months of lackluster performance, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn is seeing momentum in his campaign’s final days.
It makes sense that a former powerlifting champion and retired Air Force officer would refuse to leave the race without a fight.
A television ad and longer online video from Glenn highlights his “relentless” personality, in which the impressively physically fit candidate jumps rope, lifts weights, climbs a rope and does pull-ups.
“All of my life I’ve been told ‘no,’” Glenn says in the ad, while climbing rocks. “That I was too poor, too short, too black. I enjoy it when people underestimate me. I never stop. I can be relentless.”
Some of that fight is starting to pay off, with Glenn’s most significant momentum since emerging as the underdog winner at the April GOP state convention and then defeating a crowded field in the June primary.
Narrowing the gapHaving consistently trailed by double digits, Glenn is now within 5 points, according to a CBS News poll of 997 likely voters, which was conducted Oct. 26-28. Bennet had 46 percent of the vote, to Glenn’s 41 percent.
An Emerson poll of 750 likely voters conducted Oct. 28-31 also had Bennet up by only 5 points, with 47 percent for Bennet and 42 percent for Glenn.
“We have momentum on our side,” Glenn said in a statement. “Coloradans are demanding a change: They recognize that Michael Bennet has been a disaster. His liberal voting record and continued support of Obamacare have crushed Colorado’s families. It’s time for Coloradans to have a senator who will be accountable to their needs.”
Bennet, however, has stronger leads in other surveys, showing the uncertainty of polls.
A poll by the University of Denver, conducted Oct. 29-31, showed Bennet up 8 points.
Democrats are confident with their internal surveys as well, which has Bennet up by closer to double digits.
The party was encouraged by early ballot returns, which significantly outpaced Republicans at the start.
But that gap has narrowed, with Republicans having a strong day Wednesday, posting 76,906 ballots compared to 67,460 ballots returned by Democrats, according to Colorado-based Magellan Strategies, which has tracked returns daily.
The Democrats lead over Republicans dropped to 15,126. The percentage of ballots returned by party is now 36 percent Democrat, 35 percent Republican and 27 percent unaffiliated.
At this time in 2012, the early vote percentage by party was 38 percent Republican, 35 percent Democrat and 26 percent unaffiliated.
Money fuels advertisingAfter dismal fundraising, Glenn ended the third quarter with nearly $2.8 million in contributions, raising more money since July than Bennet.
Republicans were handed a gift last week with news of renewed FBI scrutiny over Democrat Hillary Clinton’s emails on a private server. Revisiting the controversy allowed GOP candidates to attack down-ticket Democrats. Democrats acknowledge that there are signs that Glenn has breathed new life into his campaign, and are taking actions to combat the surge.
Over the final week, Bennet’s camp is spending $1 million on television advertising.
“Michael Bennet has spent this campaign talking about his bipartisan work for all of Colorado, while Darryl Glenn has refused to work across the aisle, denied climate change, and made clear he’d get rid of the Department of Education and outlaw a woman’s right to choose,” said Bennet spokesman Andrew Zucker.
“Glenn has even called Democrats ‘evil,’ and while ballots have been coming in for weeks now, we’re confident Michael will win because he works with both parties to get things done, and Darryl Glenn’s hyper-partisan agenda is out of touch with mainstream Coloradans.”
Bennet’s well-funded campaign is significantly outspending Glenn’s side, but last month Glenn’s camp announced it would spend $600,000 on ads.
“Darryl Glenn has closed the gap in Colorado, and we’re confident he will defeat Sen. Michael Bennet,” said Restoration PAC founder Doug Truax in a statement. “Whether it’s the recent polling that shows this race is a nail-biter, or the fact that Senator Bennet has been forced to go up with his first negative ad on Darryl Glenn, all the evidence points towards an unexpected victory for Republicans in Colorado.”