Wiens: Norton boosted mainly by confused name recognition
Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 11:15 am
U.S. Senate hopeful Tom Wiens told Politico that GOP rival Jane Norton is doing well in polls here mostly just because there are so many Nortons in GOP politics.
“When people here think Norton, they may be picking the wrong one. It’s a familiar name,” Wiens said. “I would imagine that when they’re asked, I think a lot of people would say they’d probably vote for a Norton, no matter who the Norton is.”
[I]n the Centennial State, the Norton name is a GOP institution. Besides the Senate candidate, there’s Jane Norton’s husband Tom, a former U.S. attorney; former Interior Secretary Gale Norton, who served as state attorney general; former state Senate president Tom Norton and University of Northern Colorado President Kay Norton.
They’re not all related, but that doesn’t mean the many Nortons don’t benefit from each other’s prominence.
As readers have pointed out, in fact, Jane is married to Mike Norton, who has also worked in Colorado politics, not Tom Norton.
Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton has been embroiled in an influence-peddling scandal this past year. In 2006, the department she headed awarded oil shale leases on federal land worth potential hundreds of billions to a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell. Months after the deal, Norton resigned and was hired soon thereafter by Shell as an in-house lawyer.
On a conservative talk radio show two weeks ago, host Richard Randall called Norton “Gale.” He apologize, explaining to listeners that the slip up was bound to happen and he was just glad that it was now behind him.
“With Washington money getting so quickly involved in the campaign, I took it upon myself to level the playing field, which I’ve done.”
Wiens entered the race in the fall. He is running in the primary against Norton and Weld County D.A. Ken Buck. Norton has led by a significant margin in state polls and received early support from the national GOP and Sen. John McCain. Grassroots Republicans decried her candidacy, maintaining that she had been coronated in September by the national party without regard for events on the ground in Colorado, where Buck, for example, had already been campaigning for months.