Can Jane Norton Bring More Visibility to the GOP's Senate Run?

August 18 2009, 11:43 AM
Give Jane Norton a month and she might decide to run for Senate. "She's seriously considering it, and she'll make a decision in 30 days," her husband, Mike Norton, tells The Denver Post. The big question: Is the former Republican lieutenant governor a recognized name, or a B-Lister, like the many other potential GOP challengers to U.S. Senator Michael Bennet? Consider first her positives: In addition to serving under Governor Bill Owens during his second term, beginning in 2003, Norton has experience running the state Department of Public Health and Environment. And Owens gives the 54-year-old executive director of the Denver Police Foundation a glowing recommendation, telling the Post, "Jane has served Colorado well. I hope her days of public service are not over." Jennifer Duffy, an analyst for The Cook Political Report in Washington, says Norton's experience running statewide campaigns "puts her a few rungs up" on the leading candidates, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck and Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier. Still, Duffy isn't sure how Norton's name will play now: "My guess is that it's only marginally better than Buck's. Then I want to see how many people think she's Gale Norton."