BRECKENRIDGE - A Front Range-dominated race reached the High Country last week as Congressional District 2 candidates Kevin Lundberg and Jared Polis both made appearances in Summit County.
Incumbent Democrat Polis met with constituents in Frisco Thursday night for a town hall as the sitting district representative, noting that the event wasn't a campaign stop.
Lundberg returned to Summit County for the second time in recent weeks to talk to voters about health care Wednesday at the Dredge in Breckenridge.
Both candidates are from the Front Range where 90 percent of the newly drawn district resides, but both say they're tuned in to what's on the minds of High Country voters.
"I'm here today to learn from the people," Lundberg said prior to the event Wednesday. "I certainly am paying attention to who's here."
Lundberg is from Berthoud in Larimer County. Polis resides in Boulder.
The new second Congressional District extends from the southern end of Jefferson County up the Front Range to the Colorado-Wyoming border and west up the Interstate 70 mountain corridor to Avon, encompassing Jefferson, Clear Creek, Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer, Gilpin, Grand, Summit and parts of Park and Eagle counties.
The former District 2 was a stronghold for the Democrats - Polis and Mark Udall before him beat out GOP challengers by margins of more than 60 percent in 2004, 2006 and 2008 - but Lundberg says the redrawn district gives a Republican candidate a better shot.
"The 2nd Congressional has been dramatically changed," he said. "Admittedly the 2nd Congressional used to be a district that was really dominated by Boulder County ... but it's a different day now. I realized there should be some competitive choices to this competitive district."
Lundberg - a business owner and state lawmaker for the last 10 years - bills himself as the "local control guy," but local control has been a tagline for both camps.
Both candidates headlined local interests when talking about forest health and management issues, as well as quality of life in the mountains.
"With the U.S. Forest Service and other stakeholders, somebody has to advocate for Summit County," Polis said. "One of the great things we pride ourselves on is our pristine wilderness areas. I work very closely with counties and businesses on making sure we can preserve our quality of life."
Polis is behind the federal Eagle and Summit County Wilderness Preservation Act, a bill that would designate areas including Tenmile and Hoosier Ridge as protected wilderness terrain.
He has also highlighted his attention to mountain tourism issues and the need for solutions to growing congestion problems on the I-70 mountain corridor.
"We're very engaged in trying to find alternatives, including looking at zip lanes and lane expansion as well as the potential for rail," Polis said.
Lundberg focused on issues relating to Colorado water rights and economic development.
"I believe the economy needs to be fixed with local solutions and strong businesses that can create good jobs for everyone," he said.