A lively crowd gathered for a Republican rally at The Mint in Silverthorne Friday. Local and state candidates took the time to mingle at the beginning of the evening, shaking hands and answering questions from attendees.
Summit County is the first stop of a planned 'whistle-stop' tour through Colorado, which Republicans are hoping will be just enough to push the election their way.
"The key is that the people understand what choices they have," said 2nd Congressional District hopeful Kevin Lundberg. His main goal for the evening was "to meet with the people who came here."
An energetic and enthusiastic feeling accompanied the event, which state Republican Party chairman Ryan Call said has swept up the election in recent weeks.
"It's so important," he said, of the opportunity for people to meet the candidates face to face. It's easy to get tired and worn down by negative campaigning. "The opportunity to look a candidate in the eye cuts through all that noise, that propaganda you see on the trail, and strips away that false impression."
Since the first presidential debate, "there has been a shift toward Mitt Romney that's encouraging," he said. "We're more unified than perhaps I've ever seen our party."
Debra Irvine, who is in a three-way race for House District 61, agreed. "There is an excitement that I haven't seen for a long time," she said.
Throughout the night, Irvine emphasized the importance of small businesses, and the need to support them on a state level, while minimizing federal interference. She used the owners of the venue as an example. "They're a success story of small business."
During a short speech, Lundberg emphasized the importance of ignoring the negative mail and ad campaigns. "Don't stand for it, don't take it," he urged. He spoke of his experience in politics, as well as a small business owner, husband and father. He also said he was looking forward to the rest of the state tour.
"We need to go back to every corner of the county we can," he said. "We're starting right here, right now. We are going to change the make-up of this district, and we're going to change the make-up of this nation. We're in this together, and we are going to win this together. "
He urged his listeners to look to the future, and to think about the nation that their grandchildren will inherit. "We need to ensure their future."
After the candidates, Ken Gansmann, owner of The Mint, stood to say a few emotion-filled words.
"Because of all the energy of you folks here, we're gonna make it," he said, in reference to being a small business owner. Though he has been called 'right wing' for his political views, he disagrees. "We're not 'right wing.' We're just common people who support common people."
The candidates will continue their whistle-stop tour through Colorado, visiting Grand Junction today, where Paul Ryan will join them before heading to Durango on Monday. Both Romney and Ryan will be present for a rally at Red Rocks Amphitheater on Tuesday.