Summit County congressional race: Polis opponents increase |

Summit County congressional race: Polis opponents increase

JONATHAN BATUELLOsummit daily newsSummit County, CO Colorado

Although the 2nd Congressional District has been represented exclusively by Democrats since 1975, Republican Scott Starin and Unity Party candidate Bill Hammons arent giving up their campaigns in the race against Democrat forerunner Jared Polis.Starin and Hammons both have continued going door-to-door and have even increased their media presence in recent weeks. They hope the momentum created by the advertising and appearances can bolster the chances for an upset. That doesnt mean their quixotic quests will have a different outcome than expected, though.Well, you know, Ive already said on TV, Jared Polis … hes going to be representing us in Washington, Hammons said. I dont agree with everything he stands for … But essentially Jared Polis would have to withdraw at this point to lose this election.For Starin, the hope still remains. He intentionally waited until recently to begin his full media package, because he felt voters wouldnt be thinking about the congressional campaign months in advance.Because of our funding limitations, we wanted to get our name recognition and do our media blitz as people were getting their mail-in ballots and thinking seriously about the campaign, Starin said.Polis, a self-made millionaire with support from the states Democratic establishment, reported $7,078,399 in his war chest, compared with Starins $85,350 and Hammons $21,500.Starin has used the resources available to him, though. He put out three separate television commercials two weeks ago, describing who he is to voters and his various platforms compared with the stances of Polis. The advertisements have helped his visibility with voters tremendously, Starin said.We are getting more than 10,000 hits a month now, and that has really increased since we did the TV, media blitz … , he said. Our opponent has put in almost $6,000,000 of his own money, so that was tough to compete against … We couldnt get as big a media blitz as we wanted, but we are still doing everything we can.Few Summit County residents have seen the advertisements because the commercials have played mainly on the Front Range, where the largest portion of voters live, Starin said. But he said that he has tried to appear at events in the mountains.Third-party candidate Hammons campaign has taken a slightly different route. He has been going door-to-door, made a few media appearances for news stations and participated in the televised debates. The visibility has helped, he said, but he has changed his goal to gaining as many votes as possible.Im sure that (the appearances) with the combination of people hearing me elsewhere, that definitely, most likely will raise my numbers, he said. Im realistic and not expecting a huge increase in votes for me in polling these last couple weeks. But still, I am thinking (like I did) all along: Observers are going to be surprised by how well I do on election day.Hammons realized that the lopsided race should help him come Election Day, because it leaves the option open for undecided voters.At this point, Scott Starin, hes not going to win. So Im telling voters you can make a statement … (that) we need a new party in Washington, Hammons said.Jonathan Batuello can be reached at (970) 668-4653 or

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