In an interesting move, Colorado Senate candidate Jane Norton announced Monday that she will turn to Arizona Senator and former GOP presidential nominee John McCain for a last-second boost before next Tuesday's primaries.
It's been no secret that Norton is close with McCain. Norton's brother in law, Charlie Black, was a senior advisor on McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, and Norton herself was among the most prominent backers of McCain's presidential bid in Colorado during the Republican primaries.
When Norton announced her Senate candidacy in September, conservative critics immediately pointed out her ties to McCain, even alleging that McCain had personally convinced her to run for the seat.
Since September, Norton, once considered a slam dunk to win the Republican nomination, has faced a serious challenge from Tea Party-backed candidate Ken Buck. Since Buck's ascent, the both candidates have made a concerted effort to move to the right in order to please the Republican base.
McCain, long-considered a key moderate in the Senate, has become a whipping boy for Tea Party activists and other right-wing groups who see him as a "Washington insider." In making the case for Buck over Norton, influential national conservative blogger Erick Erickson cited Norton's McCain connections as reason enough to support Buck:
"Jane Norton was John McCain's chair in the state, is the sister-in-law to John McCain's consultant, and is the former lieutenant governor. You can't get less fresh than that.
In an election year that figures to favor those who appear to have the fewest Washington connections, Norton's strategy has thus far entailed separating herself from McCain.
The Norton campaign points out that McCain has been consistently popular in Mesa County, where Norton is from and where he will speak this weekend. Buck took a shot at McCain on Monday, alleging that the Arizona Republican, who is embroiled in his own reelection bid, was "greasing the power brokers." to attack him.
The latest public polling shows Buck with a 9-point lead over Norton, down from a 16-point lead last month.