Colorado Republican shakes up Senate campaign

Former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton (R) moved to reinvigorate her Senate bid by replacing her campaign manager with one of the Colorado GOP's young political talents.

Norton's camp announced Tuesday that state Sen. Josh Penry (R) was taking over the top job, which was being vacated by Norm Cummings. Norton said she owed Cummings a "debt of gratitude" and that he would stay on in an advisory role.

Penry has a long political resume despite still being in his 30s. He was former Rep. Scott McInnis's (R-Colo.) press secretary, briefly a candidate for governor and toyed with a possible House run against Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo.). He's currently the state Senate minority leader but isn't running for a third term.

Norton also announced the hiring of Rich Beeson, formerly the Republican National Committee's political director, as a consultant.

"I am pleased to welcome two very experienced Coloradans to the campaign," Norton said in a statement. "We know this is not a 'business as usual' year, and we simply can't run a 'business as usual' campaign; that's why I've implemented these changes today."

Norton recently announced she planned to petition her way onto the August primary ballot. The move cost her a place at the state Republican assembly set for May 22. Meanwhile, her main rival for the GOP nod, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck (R), is gaining momentum and support from national conservative groups.

Norton said her campaign would target "as broad an audience as possible."

"When I made the decision to pursue the Republican nomination via the petition process, my goal was to reach out to as broad an audience as possible, and I believe Josh and Rich will be critical to not only the success of achieving that goal but to victory in November," she said.

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