Vail’s younger voters itching for ‘change’
VAIL, Colorado ” Vail, Colorado is a small town, but Mike Lemon and Greg Moffet live in different neighborhoods, physically and philosophically.
Lemon and his wife, Lindsey, rent a place in town. They work in the service industry and so do most of their neighbors. Those folks, Mike Lemon said, are generally Democrats and vote that way.
“There isn’t a lot of debate about politics with us,” he said.
Moffet is a longtime Vail resident and former member of the town council. He owns a business based in Vail and lives in a neighborhood where a lot of people are business owners or managers. The political feeling in that neighborhood is more mixed, Moffet said.
“Most folks seem pretty clear on the lesser offices,” Moffet said. “But I don’t think a lot of people have mad up their minds on the presidential race until today.”
Sheika Gramshammer, co-owner of Gasthof Gramshammer, one of Vail’s first hotels, is one of those undecided voters.
“There’s so much going on, it’s hard to say what decision you should make,” Gramshammer said. “I feel like what’s good for the country will be good for me, but it’s hard to decide what’s best for the country.”
Walking into the voting booths, she said she still hadn’t made up her mind.
Colleen McCarthy, a 30-year resident of Vail and owner of The Baggage Cheque, said she believes small business would be better served by a McCain/Palin administration.
But her party allegiance is going to change when she moves down the ballot.
McCarthy said she’s supporting incumbent Eagle County Commissioner Peter Runyon, a Democrat, over his Republican rival, former commissioner Dick Gustafson.
“Let’s just say I lived through the Dick Gustafson years,” she said.
Younger voters, though, seem committed to the idea of voting a straight ticket.
This small sample of Vail voters polled strongly for Obama. But does that mean Vail, a community that’s traditionally Republican country, is turning to the blue side.
Jonathan Staufer thinks it might.
Staufer, a member of the first generation born in Vail, has returned to run Grappa, a liquor store in Vail Village. A longtime environmental activist, Staufer is a dedicated Obama voter.
But he believes that a Democrat can appeal to longtime Vail voters.
“Vail is traditionally fiscally conservative,” Staufer said. “And right now the Democrats represent more fiscally conservative policies.”
While there was a lot of enthusiasm for Obama from this group of voters, Marguerite Little was trying to temper her optimism.
“I won’t be excited until we’ve got an Obama victory,” Little said. “Until then, I’m trying not to get excited.”