Gov. Hickenlooper, Sen. Bennet join Democrats campaigning in Silverthorne
Colorado’s highest ranking Democrats hopped off a bus and sat at the same table in Silverthorne this past Friday, as Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sen. Michael Bennet joined Rep. Jared Polis and other Democrats running for every major office in the state at a campaign event 10 days before Election Day.
Aside from gubernatorial candidate Polis and his running mate Dianne Primavera, other Democratic candidates appearing for the get-out-the-vote rally included congressional candidate Joe Neguse, attorney general candidate Phil Weiser, secretary of state candidate Jena Griswold and regent for the University of Colorado candidate Lesley Smith.
The candidates appeared in Summit as part of the Colorado Democratic Party’s “Colorado for All” bus tour that kicked off in Denver on Oct. 23.
Before visiting Summit, the candidates appeared alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders at GOTV rallies in Fort Collins and Boulder. The tour made stops across the Western Slope and southern Colorado, ending in Pueblo on Sunday.
While the event was pitched as a “public lands meet and greet,” candidates spoke openly on issues aside from the environment, including voting rights, public health, consumer protection and the need to oppose the current president and his agenda.
The crowd — made up of party die-hards and Democratic politicians including Colorado House Rep. Millie Hamner, Summit County Commissioner Thomas Davidson and Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons — lapped up the candidates’ fiery rhetoric during one of the most bruising campaign seasons in recent state history.
Griswold, a former voting rights attorney in the Obama administration, pulled few punches in her criticism of current Secretary of State Wayne Williams. Referencing Williams’ partial cooperation with President Trump’s now-disbanded “voter fraud” commission, Griswold claimed thousands of Coloradans canceled their voter registration to prevent it from being sent to D.C.
“I’m running for this office because the secretary of state should have more eligible Coloradans voting, not chill the vote,” Griswold said, adding that she wanted to work with Polis if he is elected governor to expand automatic voter registration to state offices aside from the DMV, such as college campuses and public assistance offices.
In addressing the main topic of the rally, Polis said he would continue championing protection of public lands and wilderness, calling his opponent Republican Walker Stapleton a “Donald Trump yes-man” who would not stand in the way of land grabs by the federal government.
“I’m willing to stand up to this president, or any president, who tries to sell off or carve up our public lands,” Polis said.
Hickenlooper, who was not slated to appear at the Silverthorne event but popped in as the candidates started speaking, is in the home stretch of his final term as governor. He urged Democrats in audience to vote a unified ticket into office, saying his job had been made “twice as harder” dealing with an attorney general and secretary of state from the opposition.
He also laid into purported obstructionism and dismantling of public institutions by Republicans, referring to an old joke about a taxidermist and veterinarian being side by side.
“Republicans used to say they’re for all government, but now they’re against all government,” Hickenlooper said. “They want government to fail, and that’s a huge challenge for us.”
Calling Summit County an example of local government working hand in hand with the private sector, Hickenlooper pointed to home developers working with the county to ensure proper fire mitigation protocols are followed during construction, which both minimizes fire risks as well as lowers home insurance rates for new developments.
Speaking to the Summit Daily about his own political future and swirling speculation that he may make his own run for senator or president in 2020, Hickenlooper said he was entertaining it.
“We’re certainly looking at it,” he said. “We have time and we’re not there yet, but we’re definitely having discussions.”
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