Michael Bennet a Juicy Target, But Does GOP Have a Candidate?

Public Policy Polling today releases the results of its most recent survey in Colorado. They find that little has changed since their last poll in April: appointed Senator Michael Bennet is extremely beatable – if the GOP can find the right candidate.

More than halfway through his first year in the Senate Michael Bennet continues to sport weak approval numbers, Public Policy Polling’s newest Colorado survey finds.

Bennet has a 31% approval rating, with 38% of voters in the state disapproving of his job performance. That’s virtually unchanged from a 34/41 breakdown when PPP last polled Colorado in April. 57% of Democrats, 29% of independents, and 9% of Republicans like the job he’s doing.

Voters aren’t too fond of his potential Republican opponents for reelection either though.

40% have an unfavorable opinion of former Congressman Bob Beauprez to just 30% favorable. For Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier it’s 19% unfavorable to 11% favorable and for Weld County District Attorney [sic] it’s 18% unfavorable to 17% favorable.

Head to head contests between Bennet and the Republican trio are all close. Beauprez leads Bennet 42-39, while Bennet has a 39-35 advantage over Buck and a 38-33 one over Frazier.

Analysts currently put Bennet fairly far down the list of endangered Senate Democrats. Considering that Bennet’s polling remains in the toilet, he’s likely to move up.

And while the GOP longs for the ‘ideal’ candidate, the Colorado GOP seems to have a relatively weak bench. The good news is that it seems as if any of the candidates in the race has at least a fighting chance.

Update: It’s reported today that Colorado’s former Lieutenant Governor may be considering tossing her hat in the ring:

With none of the Republicans running against Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) catching fire, a new name has emerged as a likely Senate contender.

The Denver Post is reporting that former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton is considering entering the race. A senior Colorado Republican operative confirmed to POLITICO that she’s very interested in running, and expects her to jump in the race within the next month.

Norton has spent the last several years outside the political arena, and currently serves as the executive director of the Denver Police Foundation. She turned down several opportunities to run for elective office — including the state’s Senate race in 2004 and for the governor’s race in 2006.

One of her biggest allies could be former GOP Gov. Bill Owens, who selected her as his running mate when he ran for re-election in 2002. Owens still retains goodwill with the state’s Republican base, and an endorsement from the former governor would give her important backing in a primary.