Andrew Romanoff, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate
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Andrew Romanoff, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, chats with Laurie Glauth, left, chair of the Teller County Democratic Central Committee, as Carolyn Gains, his campaign manager, appears to enjoy the conversation.

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A new poll gives former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff and Secretary of State Jena Griswold the edge in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

But Griswold isn’t even in the race. She was sworn in as secretary of state — her first elected office — in January. The poll was paid for by Next Senate PAC, whose donors backed Griswold last year.

“As the lone person in the poll to have run and won a statewide contest, it’s easy to see why Griswold’s name continues to be floated as a potential candidate,” said Curtis Hubbard of OnSight Public Affairs.

Romanoff campaign chairwoman Tara Trujillo issued a statement saying, “This confirms what we’ve heard all across the state: that a grassroots progressive champion is best positioned to win the nomination and defeat Cory Gardner. This is a long campaign, and we will continue working as hard as we can to earn the support of every Coloradan.”

Coming in third was former state Sen. Mike Johnston, a money-raising leader who ran for governor last year.

“The campaign continues to be overwhelmed by the grassroots support for Mike across Colorado, in all 64 counties,” said campaign spokeswoman Rachel Petri. “It proves Mike’s message of taking on the hardest problems like the climate crisis, immigration and health care is resonating with Coloradans who are ready to join him in ousting Cory Gardner and standing up to Donald Trump.”

The survey of 500 likely 2020 primary voters gave Romanoff the lead 23% support, followed by Griswold with 15% and Johnston with 12%. No other candidate got more than 2%, a mark hit by Dan Baer, Alice Madden and John Walsh.

Almost a dozen Democrats are facing off for the chance to take on Republican Sen. Cory Gardner next year. Gardner is viewed as highly vulnerable, running on the same side of the ticket as President Trump, who lost in Colorado to Hillary Clinton in 2016. Neither Republican is polling well.

None of the numbers in the poll by Denver-based Keating Research and OnSight Public Affairs were overwhelming, given the early state and large field. Onsight characterized the race as “wide open.”

Next Senate PAC includes Griswold supporters such as former Lt. Gov. Gail Schoettler, who contributed $2,000 of the PAC’s $27,500 as of its June 30 filing, according to Federal Elections Commission documents. Tim Howard of Superior gave $500, among other previous Griswold supporters.

“Griswold has pledged to only work for the people of the state of Colorado during her tenure,” he wrote in a letter to the Boulder Daily Camera last year. “We need a leader who is committed to ensuring that each vote is counted, that each voice is heard. That leader is Jena Griswold.”

Onsight noted that Romanoff’s numbers rose with voters 50 and older to 29% of the vote, while Griswold’s dropped to 12% and Johnston to 11%.

Griswold did better with ages 18 to 49, with 20% support. Johnston rose to 15%, and Romanoff fell to 11%.

Nearly a year out from voting, 42% told pollsters they were undecided.

The survey was conducted July 1-3 and carries a margin of error of 4.4%.

Contact Joey Bunch at joey.bunch@coloradopolitics.com or follow him on Twitter @joeybunch.

Contact Joey Bunch at joey.bunch@coloradopolitics.com or follow him on Twitter @joeybunch.

Colorado Politics senior political reporter

Joey Bunch is the senior correspondent and deputy managing editor of Colorado Politics. His 32-year career includes the last 16 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and he is a two-time finalist.

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