House hopefuls use the Web … or not |

House hopefuls use the Web … or not

Scott N. Miller

EAGLE COUNTY – Internet campaigning works. Maybe. But there’s no substitute for knocking on doors.The four candidates vying to represent Eagle County in the Colorado Legislature all use the Internet to one degree or another. But two are putting more bits and bytes into their sites.The Internet sites run by Democrats Jay Fetcher and Gary Lindstrom are more elaborate than those run by Republicans Jack Taylor and Heather Lemon.Fetcher, who’s seeking to unseat Taylor in the state senate district that includes most of Eagle County and nearly all of the northwest corner of the state defined by the Continental Divide and Interstate 70, has a professional campaign staff and a slick Web site that includes a biography, position statements and, of course, a way for people to send money.Taylor, whose campaign manager is his wife Geneva, depends on the Web page he’s provided as a member of the state legislature. He bristles at the suggestion he’s running a low-tech campaign, as well as Fetcher’s frequent remarks that he doesn’t have an e-mail address.Taylor, though, clearly prefers hands-on campaigning. By his own estimate, Taylor put between 1,300 and 1,500 miles on his pickup in the week before he was interviewed for this story.”I’d rather communicate eyeball-to-eyeball,” Taylor said. “Second is communicating by telephone, and third by e-mail… There’s nothing wrong with getting out and talking to people.”Fetcher – as well as the other candidates – agreed there’s no substitute for knocking on doors in a run for the state legislature. The Web site, he said, is a “supporting, but essential” part of his own effort to unseat Taylor.”That’s especially true with the portion of voters between 18 and 30 years old,” Fetcher said. “My daughter is in that age range and I see how they use the Web first.” Gary Lindstrom, a Breckenridge Democrat appointed to fill former Representative Carl Miller’s seat in the Colorado House of Representatives, said his Web site has been an effective way to reach voters of all ages.”I have a lot of things I’d like to tell voters,” Lindstrom said. “With the Web page they can read it at their leisure. If I printed it out and gave it to people, it would probably end up in the trash.”Lindstrom’s opponent takes a different view.”I’ve never had anyone tell me they use the Internet for local political races,” Eagle County Republican Heather Lemon said. “We do the grass roots thing.”Lemon, who ran a close race against Miller two years ago, acknowledged her site is bare-bones at the moment, currently providing information on contributing to her campaign fund.”With our area so crazy busy, people don’t have time,” Lemon said. “The people I talk to tell me their first source of information is, honestly, the Vail Daily. Then they watch the debates on TV.”Lindstrom, who resigned a post as a Summit County commissioner to take the state house appointment, agreed.”The very best form of communication is face to face,” he said. “Whether I spend five minutes or an hour with someone, people remember that.”Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 613, or Colorado

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