April 23 2010, 6:43 AM
Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton's campaign team is undergoing a major re-tooling, as she struggles to connect with the Republican Party's conservative activists---many backing Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck. Norton, the former lieutenant governor under Bill Owens who was once considered a sure shot for her party's nomination, has replaced her campaign manager, Norm Cummings, with Josh Penry, the state Senate minority leader known for his "hardball tactics," writes Politico. GOP consultant Rich Beeson, who worked on Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown's surprise victory earlier this year, will also join, with Cummings working as a senior adviser." These staff moves should send a clear message: "The Norton campaign will be on offense between now and election day," Norton says in a statement. Penry (right) admits to Westword that Norton has struggled against Buck and "knows she needs to fight back, and she knows that part of my m.o. is to engage the fight---to draw contact and fight back." One thing that may help: money. Norton raised than $800,000 in the first quarter and Buck a little more than $100,000, giving himself a $100,000 loan, according to The Denver Post. Yet Buck also has "tea party" buzz and last week received a paid, $600,000 ad buy from Virginia-based Americans for Job Security.