Local Democratic caucuses focus on race for the Senate | VailDaily.com

Local Democratic caucuses focus on race for the Senate

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – Some voters are disenchanted with Congress, and that could tempt them to oust the incumbents come November’s election, Vail, Colorado, resident Rick Rogers said.

However, he thinks Michael Bennet is doing a good job as Colorado’s U.S. senator. That’s why Rogers is throwing his support behind Bennet as early strategizing sessions for November’s election begin within the political parties.

“If somebody comes in and they’re doing a good job for two years, why put somebody else in the canoe when we’ve got some rough waters ahead of us?” the 56-year-old Democrat said.

Rogers was among a group of Vail Valley residents who convened inside Red Sandstone Elementary in Vail, Colorado, on Tuesday night for a Democratic precinct caucus. Caucuses are the first step in voter participation for November’s election. The Eagle County Democratic Party also held caucuses in Edwards, Colorado, and Eagle, Colorado.

Breaking into small groups inside the school library, residents in Vail held a straw vote on whether they supported Bennet or Andrew Romanoff as the Democratic candidate for Colorado’s Senate race. A final tally for how Eagle County Democrats voted on the matter

was not yet available as of 10 p.m. Tuesday.

As local Democrats contemplated their Senate picks, they also shared mixed views on what strategy Democrats will need to embrace to win votes in November.

Rogers said the biggest challenge facing Democrats is the perception that the government is failing to the resuscitate the economy quickly enough. If the Democrats are going to succeed in the election, he said they should stress their recent accomplishments, such as passing the stimulus bill. He said the stimulus bill helped schoolteachers keep their jobs and enabled governments to stay afloat.

Minturn Democrat Mike Heaphy, 41, said the Democrats’ success in November’s election will hinge on what happens in the near future with health care reform.

“I think if they don’t pass it, it will be utterly disastrous,” he said. “I think if they do get this health care thing passed, it’s going to be a benefit come November.”

Heaphy put his support behind Romanoff, saying he likes that the candidate refuses to accept contributions from special interests.

Vail resident Mark Gordon, 46, said Democrats need to show that government can get stuff done and “it doesn’t have to be all blockage and gridlock.”

“The perception is that nothing’s getting done when, in fact, stuff is getting done – just nothing worthwhile is easy,” he said.

Gordon also cast his straw vote for Romanoff, saying he wants to see more than one Democratic candidate competing in the primary election.

“I think having a contested primary will bring out the best in both candidates,” he said.

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or


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