Romney bus rolls through Breckenridge
Ryan Summerlin September 16, 2012
BRECKENRIDGE – The same day a plane crash at the Pueblo Memorial Airport caused Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to cancel a Colorado stop, his campaign pushed forward with a statewide tour, passing through Breckenridge Sunday morning.
Speakers, including state Senate and House GOP candidates, as well as Romney staffers, targeted the Obama presidency and unemployment rates at the rally on Main Street in Breck.
“We can’t afford four more years of Obama,” state Senate District 8 hopeful Randy Baumgardner told the crowd. “We’re not better off than we were four years ago. If we get four more years we’re sunk. We are sunk.”
Obama campaign staffers were in Summit County in June. They toured a beetle-kill mitigation site with House District 61 incumbent Millie Hamner and Democrat County Commissioner Dan Gibbs.
Colorado, a battleground state that went blue in 2008, may still be up for grabs this year.
A recent Denver Post poll indicates President Barack Obama is locked in a dead heat with Romney for Colorado, leading by only one percentage point in a poll with a 4-point margin of error.
Both the president, who has visited Colorado four times in recent weeks, and Romney’s campaigns are trying to make the most of the split to swing the state in the dwindling days before mail ballots go out Oct. 15.
Speakers Sunday called on the crowd of approximately 100 cheering people who greeted the bus to reach out to their friends and neighbors to turn out the vote, while staffers worked the crowd collecting voter registrations.
“Every county’s important and we’re hitting every town, every community that we can,” Romney campaign spokesman Chris Walker said. “We’re reaching out to every voter and making sure that we’re going to win this state.”
The bus, one of five the campaign is circulating around the country, was wrapping up a five-day tour of Colorado when it arrived at the local GOP’s new field office on Main Street in Breck.
Baumgardner, Walker and state HD 61 challenger Debra Irvine addressed the crowd Sunday morning.
Baumgardner talked about fiscal responsibility, while Irvine called on conservatives to return seats from the Statehouse to the White House to Republicans.
“We can win this,” Irvine said.
She said she was the only Republican running against two Democrats, grouping Independent hopeful Kathleen Curry in with Democrat Hamner for the HD61 race.
The Republican field office, the first in Summit County in recent memory, is a campaign hub as well as a bid to increase the party’s visibility ahead of the election.
Romney was set to speak at the Weisbrod Aircraft Museum Sunday afternoon, but cancelled the visit after the crash at the Pueblo airport closed two of three runways. The man who owned the plane, the only person on board, was killed in the crash.
In Breckenridge the same day, Romney’s staffers said their thoughts and prayers went out to the victim’s family, but could not confirm whether Romney would return to Colorado before the first scheduled presidential debate, which will take place Oct. 3 at the University of Denver.
“We’ll definitely reschedule and try to have him out here soon,” Walker said.
Sunday was set to be Romney’s first campaign visit to Colorado in a month. It is not clear whether he would have traveled with the bus that came through Breck.
The Denver Post contributed to the reporting of this story.