A GOP duel at dinner | PostIndependent.com
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A GOP duel at dinner

Endorsements aren’t everything, Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Holtzman said in Glenwood Springs Saturday night moments after his primary opponent rattled off a list of those who back his campaign.Holtzman, who has a home outside Carbondale, and U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez brought their campaigns to the Hotel Colorado for the Garfield County Republicans’ Lincoln Day Dinner.Beauprez cited the backing of fellow members of Congress such as Joel Hefley and Tom Tancredo, as well of most Republican state lawmakers in Colorado, including Al White, whose district includes western Garfield County.Also backing Beauprez, who is leading Holtzman in polls in the primary battle, is Russell George of Rifle. George, a former speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives and now executive director of the state Department of Natural Resources, sat beside Beauprez at Saturday’s event.Holtzman said that in 1976, most Republicans endorsed Gerald Ford’s candidacy rather than Ronald Reagan’s.”Who in this room would argue 30 years later that they were right, that all those people knew what was best for our country?” Holtzman asked.Ford lost that year to Democrat Jimmy Carter. When Reagan was elected president four years later, Holtzman served as his campaign manager in Pennsylvania.Today, Holtzman said, he isn’t the candidate of the Republican Party’s mainstream establishment.”I believe that the establishment is not always right,” he said.He cited as an example his willingness last fall to actively campaign against the Referendum C tax measure, which passed following bipartisan support, as well as companion measure Referendum D, which voters defeated. Holtzman said he opposed what amounted to a $3.7 billion tax increase.”As governor I’m going to show that same principled leadership every chance I get,” he said to applause from Saturday’s crowd.Beauprez argued that he already has shown such leadership, casting 1,800 votes in Congress that show he is pro-gun-rights, pro-life, pro-business and pro-taxpayer.”We need a principled conservative with a demonstrated ability to lead, and frankly I think that’s me,” he said.While Beauprez kept a lower profile during last fall’s debate over Referendums C and D, he said that as governor he would lead a systematic analysis of how the state does business, and collects and spends money. He said he would make maximizing of taxpayer dollars a priority.”I wouldn’t mind giving government a dollar if I got something close to a dollar in return,” he said.Both Beauprez and Holtzman called for stronger enforcement of laws against illegal immigration.”Just as immigration is one of the great things that has defined our nation, so too has the rule of law,” Beauprez said.Holtzman said Colorado can’t sustain having 400,000 undocumented immigrants now in the state. He said he stands by his recent, controversial comments calling the city of Denver a “rogue government,” which he said referred to its efforts to serve as a sanctuary for those here illegally. The rogue government remark was seen as a jab at Mayor John Hickenlooper, who at the time was considering running for governor as a Democrat.If Holtzman becomes governor, he said, “There will be no sanctuary for people that break our laws, period.”On the issue of water, Beauprez praised an effort initiated by George to get different parts of the state talking about how to meet Colorado’s water needs.”We have existed for far too long on a water policy that basically says let’s hope it doesn’t get dry again,” he said.He said solutions include conservation and augmenting existing storage. “And we’re going to have to build some new storage because frankly, we must,” he said.But it’s important to look to the water-rich Western Slope’s future needs, and provide mitigation for any water diversions that do occur, he said.Holtzman noted that he had opposed Referendum A. The 2003 measure, which Colorado voters defeated, was heavily opposed on the Western Slope.Holtzman shook Beauprez’s hand vigorously before speaking, and said he finds it hard to be running against someone he considers to be a good friend.”I will never disparage your personal character for personal gain. I just won’t do it,” he told Beauprez.But he said he wants to provide vision for Colorado Republicans after a difficult 2004, in which they lost control of both the state House and Senate to Democrats, and saw Democrats Ken Salazar and John Salazar elected to the U.S. Senate and House, respectively. He said that happened because Republicans became consumed by pursuit of personal power.”We put politics ahead of people and policy and when we do that we lose elections,” he said.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com


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