While his opponent was in Denver raising bales of cash beside President Barack Obama, underdog Senate hopeful Andrew Romanoff spent Thursday evening trolling for votes in one the state’s least productive fishing grounds for Democrats: El Paso County.

In a place where John McCain knocked down nearly 60 percent of the 2008 vote, Romanoff said he can beat incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet in the Democratic primary and turn back the state’s Republican tide.

“I am running against Washington,” Romanoff said during a visit to The Gazette.

Romanoff, a former Colorado House speaker, has been attacking Bennet as a tool of special interests who has been bought with campaign cash.

“Those interest groups are turning Congress into a wholly owned subsidiary,” Romanoff said.

While tickets for Bennet’s fundraiser with Obama topped out at $15,000, Romanoff gathered his supporters at a chain restaurant on the north side of Colorado Springs for $50 per head.

Romanoff said he expects to get enough Democratic support in caucuses next month to earn a spot on the August primary ballot.