McCain to stop in Grand Junction today |

McCain to stop in Grand Junction today

Marija B. Vader
Grand Junction Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION ” Republican presidential candidate John McCain will make an Election Day stop in Grand Junction, it was announced Sunday.

McCain’s Straight-Talk Express will land at Grand Junction Regional Airport mid-morning or early afternoon Tuesday, and McCain will address a gathering at West Star Aviation, said State Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction.

The announcement drew predictably mixed reactions with Mesa County’s party faithful.

“I’m really excited,” said Gary Roahrig, chairman of the Mesa County Republican Party. “We’re just ecstatic.”

For Mary Beth Pyle, chairwoman of the Mesa County Democratic Party, it’s McCain’s swan song.

“I’m thinking it’s his farewell tour,” Pyle said. “He’s here to thank his supporters.”

The visit grew from the Aug. 13 announcement by President Bush adviser Karl Rove on the importance of Colorado, Roahrig recalled. Rove told the Wall Street Journal McCain needed to win Mesa County to win the election, he said.

“I think the conclusion you should draw is pretty obvious,” said Martelle Daniels, volunteering at the Mesa County Barack Obama headquarters. McCain’s visiting Mesa County “not because he’s doing well.”

Colorado and Mesa County will play a pivotal role in McCain’s success, agreed Penry.

“It does speak to the fact of how important this is,” Penry said. “We want to make sure no stone goes unturned in western Colorado, and they want to turn the vote out.

“It’s an historic election and historic final visit by the top of the ticket,” Penry said.

Roahrig agreed.

“I would guess it’s been a long time ” if ever ” we’ve had a presidential candidate land here in Grand Junction on Election Day,” Roahrig said.

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