Vail Valley voters picking their president |

Vail Valley voters picking their president

Dustin Racioppi
Vail Valley, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” The debates are over, endorsements have been made and with a week until ballots are cast, it is now crunch time ” both for presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama, and the Vail Valley residents who will be voting for them.

For voters in the region, it’s a decision that was made either long before Joe the Plumber made headlines or is yet to be determined; some are waiting until they draw the curtain in the voting booth to choose which circle to fill.

Eagle resident Tony Suarez is the latter.

“I don’t know how I feel about either of them,” he said. “They’re just bagging each other. It’s like you don’t know who to trust.”

Though his decision will likely be made at the last minute, Suarez said his wife’s Obama-mania may rub off on him ” and the fact he’s dissatisfied with the last eight years under George W. Bush.

“I’ll probably go Obama just because I have a feeling the McCain administration will further the Bush administration,” he said.

For others, the decision as to who would earn their vote was made months or even years ago. In Eric Yunker’s case, it was in 2000 when McCain made his first push for the presidency ” though Yunker said he watched closely the last few months as both candidates stumped for votes.

“I looked at everything open-minded. I followed the whole process closely,” said Yunker, who’s unaffiliated. “I haven’t really seen anything in Obama that makes me believe that he would be somebody I could count on.”

He pointed largely to McCain’s foreign policy experience ” and overall experience ” as a deciding factor, which he said is needed in these bleak economic times.

“I just think when people talk about the economy and all the issues that go with it, there’s a lot of details that need to be worked out in our country,” he said. “But what happens everywhere else affects us, too.

“I don’t know how a guy as green as Barack Obama can even have a chance.”

But as many polls in the state show, people are giving Obama a chance as Democrat registration is up and the Illinois senator has a projected lead over McCain.

“I believe he is the only one that can make change. That was my No. 1 criteria,” said Beaver Creek resident Richard Beitling, a Republican.

Beitling is one of nearly 22 percent of Colorado voters who sent in an early ballot by Sunday ” two months after he decided Obama would be his choice as president.

“I just kept waiting to make sure there would be anything I would find out that mattered,” he said.

Eagle-Vail resident Kristina Patterson, who is leaning towards Obama even though she likes McCain, is still waiting.

“I’m waiting for a big story,” she said.

But if that big story that could swing her vote doesn’t come, she’ll be filling out the circle next to Obama’s name.

“I think he has a truly new approach. It’s not going to be the same old thing,” Patterson said.

And it seems the “same old thing” isn’t flying with many voters this election season.

“We need change in every area of what government is about,” Beitling said.

Dustin Racioppi can be reached at (970)748-2936 or

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