The Washington Times - September 27, 2010, 11:04PM

Colorado’s junior senator has a new first name: It’s “Appointed,” as in “Appointed Sen. Michael Bennet.”

At least that’s how the Ken Buck campaign has taken to identifying Mr. Bennet, the Democratic incumbent who was indeed appointed to his Senate seat in January 2009 by Gov. Bill Ritter.

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The latest Buck press releases and statements make repeated reference to Mr. Bennet’s unelected status, as in this Monday quote from Buck campaign manager John Swartout: “The people of Colorado deserve to hear appointed Sen. Bennet and Ken debate.”

The strategy appears to be borrowed from the campaigns of Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard, who relentlessly referred to his Democratic opponent in 1996 and 2002 as “lawyer/lobbyist Tom Strickland.” The tactic worked for Mr. Allard — he defeated Mr. Strickland both times—although it remains to be seen whether voters are as unimpressed by an “appointed” senator as they were by a “lawyer/lobbyist.”

Certainly the Bennet campaign doesn’t foresee a problem. “I don’t believe it’s on top of people’s minds, to be honest with you,” said Bennet spokesman Trevor Kincaid. “The things we really hear about are the economy and jobs and Buck’s extreme record.”

The race remains tight, with Mr. Buck maintaining with a small but consistent three-to-five point lead over Mr. Bennet. A CNN/Time poll released Sept. 22 showed Mr. Buck ahead by a margin of 49 to 44 percent among likely voters.