Local candidates reflect on lengthy campaign | VailDaily.com

Local candidates reflect on lengthy campaign

Chris Outcalt
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY ” They’ve been at it for a while now, some knocking on thousands of doors in the process. As the campaign season starts to wind down, the candidates for the state Senate and House pointed to different things they learned while spending six months talking to Eagle County voters.

State Senate

The Senate District 8 seat covers parts of Eagle and Garfield counties, as well as Moffat, Rout, Jackson and Rio Blanco counties. Ken Brenner, a Democrat who is running against Rep. Al White for the spot, has been walking neighborhoods talking to voters.

By his count he’s knocked on 22,000 doors. And what stands out in his mind is how similar the concerns of the voters in the district are.

“When you’re standing there talking to them about what’s important they are amazingly similar,” Brenner said. “I thought you might see a bigger difference between resort communities and more rural parts of the district.”

Brenner started his bid for the state Senate the first week in March and said he’s only taken about 10 days off from campaigning.

“The towns themselves are quite diverse,” he said. “But I came to the conclusion that the people in the district are more similar than I expected them to be.”

Renewable energy is a topic that comes up regardless of the part of the district he’s walking through, Brenner said.

“That always gets a very aggressive head nod and people bring it up when I don’t mention it,” he said.

White pointed to the economy as a topic he’s learned the importance of while campaigning.

It was always on his mind, but during the last month it’s become the most important issue to voters, he said.

“It’s more critical than it was certainly when the campaign started,” White said. “I talk to people now that say they were going to retire and now they say they can’t.”

Tourism is one of the keys to keeping the local economy stable, White said.

“When you look at bookings this coming season, they’re down,” he said. “But even though they’re down, if we jump out of our marketing efforts they’ll be down more ” we can still have a positive effect by staying in the market.”

State House

Democratic state House candidate Christine Scanlan said knocking on doors provided her the best opportunity to learn during the campaign.

“I didn’t know what to expect from going door to door,” she said. “It was a huge learning experience.”

Scanlan said she had very few negative experiences, and encountered more voters that were interested in engaging in long policy discussions than she anticipated.

“I think people are very keyed in to this election,” she said. “Even the people that don’t agree with your politics are polite.”

Republican candidate Ali Hasan said he learned the importance having the support of his family and friends throughout the campaign.

“When I started I thought I could run for office independently,” he said. “It’s rough out there sometimes … you need to surround yourself with people that love you.”

Hasan said 95 percent of the comments he got while walking door to door were positive.

“You always have that one that’s negative,” he said. “If you’re going to run for office you need to have family near you a lot.”

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.

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