DENVER (CBS4)– A little more than a week before the Democratic Senate Primary, a new poll shows former Gov. John Hickenlooper has an edge, but it has shrunk considerably. The poll was paid for by Hickenlooper’s opponent, former Speaker of the state House Andrew Romanoff.

Democratic Senate candidate former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

It shows Hickenlooper with a 12-point lead over Romanoff, down from 49 points last October.

(credit: Cory Gardner Campaign)

Hickenlooper has been dogged by controversies over the last few weeks and Republicans are taking advantage of the bad press. Incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner is running an ad with clips of Hickenlooper, from before he announced his candidacy, talking about how he doesn’t want to be a senator.

“He’s now in a position where no candidate wants to be in the last two weeks of an election — on the defense,” says CBS4 Republican analyst Dick Wadhams.

CBS4 Republican analyst Dick Wadhams (credit: CBS)

Wadhams says Hickenlooper – who has more name recognition and money than Romanoff – will still likely win the primary. The ad, he says, is aimed at ensuring Hickenlooper enters the general election badly damaged. It’s one of several ads that highlight just how volatile the race has become. A Republican ad bashes Hickenlooper for ethics violations and contempt charges. An ad by Democrats defends him, calling the ethics complaint politically motivated.

“He looks more like a typical politician and that’s not his brand and that puts him in a tough spot,” says CBS4 Democratic analyst Mike Dino.

Dino says, while Hickenlooper’s folksy charm isn’t working this election, Gardner’s ad is aimed at increasing his own likeability.

CBS4 Democratic analyst Mike Dino (credit: CBS)

“I think Hickenlooper’s stuff was sort of a foil for him, to portray himself as, ‘Hey! I’m the guy who you’ve always liked’ and it’s more to help his favorable which have been down in the dumps forever and attached to the President.”

Wadhams agrees the ad is keenly strategic, “Cory’s ad captures his personality which is still his biggest asset, but now there are some powerful issues at work against Hickenlooper that Cory will exploit. So, if Hickenlooper wins the primary, he’ll be limping out of the primary.”

The primary election is June 30.

Shaun Boyd

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