Huffpost Denver

Jane Norton Leans Heavily On Staffers To Answer Questions

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Republican senatorial candidate Jane Norton's recent decision to hire Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry to manage her campaign generated chatter amongst political insiders that Penry, a bombastic former gubernatorial candidate, would upstage the low-key Norton.

If a profile of the new-look Norton campaign in Wednesday's Denver Post is any indication, those concerns may have been spot-on.

The article focuses on Norton's new message, centered largely around attacking her opponent Ken Buck, whose recent surge has put him within striking distance of the nomination.

However, the most striking portion of the article reveals that Norton, a former Lieutenant Governor, still has trouble answering basic questions from constituents without the help of staffers like Penry.

From the Post:

Though she says she relishes the meet-and-greets, she is seemingly still getting on her feet.

On her Eastern Plains trip, she regularly turned to staff or prominent volunteers, such as former state Sen. Mark Hillman, to help her through questions from voters.

At the Wray coffee shop, Norton was asked why she was a better candidate than Buck.

"I'm true to conservative principles, and we need people who will have broader appeal," she said, glancing at staffer Cinamon Watson, sitting at a table nearby. "Cinamon, what else?"

In a telephone town hall later that day, Norton crouched in a Burlington motel room and took questions from more than 2,000 people who listened in. After responding, she often asked Penry -- who was on the line from Denver -- whether he could add anything.

Norton has been criticized in the past for not speaking with the press.

According to the latest public polling, she leads Buck 31%-26% thanks largely to her advantage among self-described moderates. The primaries will be held on August 10.