Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold hasn’t said she’s running to unseat U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, but Democrats say they’d vote for her in next year’s primary, according to a new poll released Tuesday.
Griswold came in second place in a poll conducted July 1 through 3 by Keating Research and Onsight Public Affairs. It asked registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters in Colorado who they’d pick if the primary election were held that day.
The survey found 42% still were undecided.
Former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff led the pack with 23%. Griswold got 15% and former state Sen. Mike Johnston rounded out the top three with 12%.
Romanoff’s campaign was quick to take a victory lap, issuing a statement from its campaign chair Tara Trujilo that said, in part, “Andrew is leading the pack because his message —protecting our health care, combating the climate crisis and defending immigrants and asylum seekers from Donald Trump’s attacks — is clearly resonating with Colorado voters.”
It’s uncommon but not unheard of to see polling on candidates that haven’t yet entered a race. Former Vice President Joe Biden, for example, appeared in several polls before he entered the presidential primary earlier this year.
“We were curious to see where Secretary of State Griswold would stack up in this survey,” pollster Chris Keating said in a statement. “The fact that an undeclared entrant could garner second reaffirms the fact that this race is wide open.”
Next Senate PAC, the group that paid for the poll, couldn’t be reached for comment, but its shortlist of donors includes Griswold supporters like Timothy Howard (the PAC’s treasurer and custodian of records), according to online filings from the Federal Election Commission.
Howard contributed more than $1,000 to Griswold’s 2018 campaign and wrote opinion pieces in support of her candidacy.
Griswold hasn’t filed any paperwork or announced any plans to formally seek the nomination, but she talked with U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, earlier this year about the idea.
A growing field of candidates, 12 and counting, already have announced that they want to challenge Gardner next fall, but pollsters gave respondents just six names to choose from when they asked about the race.
Alice Madden, Dan Baer and John Walsh all got 2%. Another 2% of respondents said they had a different candidate in mind.
The survey called 500 likely 2020 primary voters. The margin of error is 4.4%.