Top Democrats roll through the valley
Ryan Summerlin October 4, 2012
AVON, Colorado – Colorado’s top Democrats whistle-stopped their way through the valley Thursday for a series of campaign rallies that were one part revival meeting and two parts reality.
That makes it a D-Tour, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet walked into Avon’s Northside Cafe greeted by applause and cheers. They quickly reminded the partisan crowd that they have five days left to get new people registered to vote.
With many political pundits now asserting that there aren’t enough undecided voters left to influence the presidential race, the presidency will go to the party that gets its people to the polls.
“This is the last five days to register new voters,” said Gail Schwartz, who will represent Eagle County in next year’s Colorado state Senate. “Then we have to get them to vote.”
Swing state serenade
Colorado is one of a handful of battleground states remaining in play as campaigns head into their final month. Election Day is Nov. 6, and by Thursday early voting had begun in 30 states.
The campaign rhetoric is heating up: Our guy is good, their guy is bad, and the republic remains in peril.
“Everything is at stake,” Salazar said.
Thursday’s D-Tour departed from Denver in the morning and headed through Frisco, Avon, Glenwood Springs and ended in Grand Junction.
The four speakers functioned sort of like a rhetorical relay: Schwartz opening, Salazar second, Bennet third and Udall taking the anchor leg.
Bennet introduced Udall as a statesman, saying he rises above the “unbelievable dysfunction” inside the Beltway that the public disdains.
“The United States Congress has a 9 percent approval rating for good reason,” Bennet said.
Udall looked out across the crowd and smiled. “You look like the 47 percent to me,” he said.
He defended the president and attacked Republican Mitt Romney, especially what he said were Romney’s position changes on issues between the bruising Republican primary season and Wednesday’s debate on the University of Denver campus.
“Gov. Romney has taken more positions than an advanced yoga instructor,” Udall said.
Udall is a hiker and climber and joked with the crowd about promises from God.
“The last time I was at the summit of the Mount of the Holy Cross, God told me that for every 50 people you get out to vote, you’ll get an extra inch of snow,” he said laughing.
Salazar was born and raised a rancher in the San Luis Valley, and his Western Colorado roots run deep. He is a former U.S. senator from Colorado before being appointed to the Interior post. He said he was happy to be home and happy to be in Schwartz’s state Senate district.
“From sea to shining sea, Colorado is the most beautiful state in the union, and Eagle County is one of the most beautiful counties in this state,” Salazar said.
Bennet thanked Eagle County’s Democrats for helping elect him in 2010 and keeping that Senate seat on their side of the aisle. He urged the crowd to keep the faith in the face of growing cynicism.
“The work is not done, even when politics looks idiotic, which it often does in Washington,” Bennet said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.