Pete Coors, Republican — candidate for U.S. Senate
Salazar, the Democrat, and Republican Coors are campaigning to replace Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a Republican who is not running for re-election. The U.S. Senate now contains 51 Republicans, 48 Democrats and 1 independent.
Coors has spent his life in business and now runs his family’s brewing company and is campaigning heavily, it seems, through television commercials.
by Scott Miller
Vail Daily Staff Writer
EAGLE – Television and the Internet are OK, but there’s nothing like a live performance.
With that in mind, a couple hundred of the local Republican faithful gathered Tuesday at the Eagle County Fairgrounds for a luncheon featuring Republican U.S. Senate candidate Pete Coors. The luncheon was sponsored by the High Country Republican Women, a group made up of members from Eagle, Summit, Grand and Lake counties.
For several people, the luncheon was an opportunity to meet Coors up close and personal. For others, it was an opportunity to recharge their partisan batteries a few weeks before the Nov. 2 election.
“I’m here as an interested voter,” Arleen Montag of Eagle said. “I’ve seen so much negative, about both of them, that I wanted to see (Coors) up close. I want to learn who he is, if I can trust him, what he stands for.”
Gypsum resident Eric Dondero, who called himself a solid Republican, came with a specific question. Dondero said he’d seen a Salazar ad claiming Coors is opposed to the death penalty for terrorists.
“I want to find out if it’s true,” he said.
Walking up to Coors before lunch, Dondero asked and wasn’t happy with the answer, because Coors is, indeed, opposed to the death penalty. Coors told Dondero he’s firmly pro-life and has decided that position applies to the death penalty as well as abortion.
“I think it can be a greater punishment to stick somebody in a hole for the rest of his life,” Coors said.
“That hurts,” Dondero said as he walked back to his lunch table.
Coors said later the issue of his opposition to the death penalty hadn’t come up before Salazar raised it in his ads.
“When we have so many other pressing issues, like the war, the deficit, taxes … it’s just not an issue that’s been on my radar screen,” Coors said.
Responding to questions during his speech, Coors said not all Republicans are going to agree with everything in the party’s platform this year.
“I’m going to focus on my platform of less government and lower taxes. We might not agree about everything else,” Coors said.
For more than a half-hour, Coors fielded questions about national security, immigration, health care and other issues. Which is what drew the crowd.
For Eagle-area resident Clint Mehl, events like Tuesday’s luncheon are an important part of politics. A self-described “loyal Eagle County Republican,” Mehl said he came to hear Coors – not because he was wavering in his commitment – but to look his chosen candidate in the eye.
“Touching the flesh is a good thing,” he said.
For McCoy-area resident Melinda Gorman, a local precinct captain for the Republicans, party events are part of the way she was raised.
“I started doing this with my dad,” Gorman said. Besides, she said, Tuesday’s lunch gave her an opportunity to come to the valley and mingle.
Coors understands why voters want to met him face to face, he said.
“It’s real important to do these,” Coors said. “It’s a way for people who haven’t had a chance to see me in person to do that, and work even harder in the campaign.”
Following the event, Montag said she got the information she came for.
“I wasn’t really impressed with his speech, there were no specifics,” Montag said. “But he got specific in the question-and-answer session. He seemed to have a real good handle on the issues. By the time he was done I was very impressed.”
Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or firstname.lastname@example.org.