Darryl Glenn, Republican candidate for US Senate, makes stop in Frisco | SummitDaily.com

Darryl Glenn, Republican candidate for US Senate, makes stop in Frisco

Dozens gathered at the Summit County Republicans headquarters in Frisco for a campaign stop by U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn. The event was a who's who of the county's GOP, featuring appearances by local candidates and state lawmakers.

In a stump speech, Glenn urged the crowd to vote for candidates with integrity — regardless of their party — and gave a strong endorsement to all of his down-ballot Republicans, particularly Derek Woodman, who is running against interim Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons.

Republicans face a challenging electoral map this cycle, defending 11 competitive Senate seats. To gain control of the chamber, Democrats need to gain five seats, or four if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency and her VP pick, Tim Kaine, becomes the deciding vote in 50-50 ties.

Donald Trump's cannonball into national politics has left some Republican incumbents squirming to distance themselves from his controversial positions, while still supporting their nominee, creating an opening for Democratic challengers.

Glenn, however, has embraced Trump, calling him a "patriot" and saying he is proud to stand with him. The retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and current El Paso County commissioner is running against Michael Bennett, a first-term incumbent with a sizeable war chest and a double-digit lead in the polls.

Glenn is confident, however, that voters will look past the slew of ads his rival camp has been running since June.

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"He's spending so much because he's got to distract you from his record," he said of Bennet. "He voted for the Iran deal and the ACA (Affordable Care Act), and he wants people to forget that."

As people gathered around the candidate for selfies and handshakes, they shared with him their concern for the country's current direction and the prospect of a Clinton Supreme Court nominee.

"If we lose the first and second amendment, we lose this country," said one man who felt the media wasn't adequately covering the fight to replace justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February.

"Whether you agree or disagree, you want consistency in interpreting the constitution," responded Glenn. "As a strict constructionist, it's extremely important to me."

Other attendees expressed concern over illegal immigrants taking American jobs and jeopardizing national security.

In his speech, Glenn stressed the importance of securing energy independence and rolling back EPA regulations, which he said have killed Colorado jobs. He also criticized the Affordable Care Act, saying it has led to higher premiums and hurt working families.

"This election year has gotten so negative, so hyper-partisan, I know it makes you just want to turn off the TV," he said to laughs. "I'm focused on changing the tone. I'm standing up for you and what's best for you."

After Glenn took a few questions from the crowd, Derek Woodman and Colorado Senate majority whip Randy Baumgardner gave brief speeches. Woodman outlined his credentials and long record of service in the Summit County Sheriff's Office, while Baumgardner asked the crowd to urge undecided friends to vote Republican.

"If Hillary Clinton wins this election, our country is lost," he said.

"Darryl is the right guy for the job," said Jonathan Lerner, who is running for county commissioner as an independent. "He's looking out for people, including people not in the party, like me."

As the speeches finished up, Glenn and his retinue made the final rounds before heading to Grand Junction, where he will be debating Michael Bennett on Saturday at 6 p.m.

"I think he is so dynamic," said Lisa Buck of Breckenridge. She said Glenn's message on health care costs was particularly resonant because her premium costs have tripled in the past three years, forcing her to switch insurers multiple times.

Lillian Bickel, a former speech teacher at Cherry Creek High School, was particularly impressed with Glenn's address at the Republican National Convention in July. She said she has been energized this cycle by Donald Trump's candidacy.

"I hate to be redundant, but electing Trump will make America great again."

"I love 'em all," said supporter JT Coyoté of the candidates who were present. "They're Americans, not globalists."

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