McInnis drops in on GOP dinner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Glenwood Springs native Scott McInnis made a surprise appearance at the Garfield County Republican’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner Saturday night at Beau Jo’s Buffalo Valley Restaurant.
“This is home, born and raised,” McInnis said. “I wasn’t supposed to be here, but it’s always nice to come back home.”
McInnis, who is vying for the Republican nomination for Governor against Dan Maes of Evergreen, briefly addressed the audience and said only a few words on his campaign in regards to the latest Rasmussen poll that has him leading Democratic candidate, and current Denver Mayor, John Hickenlooper.
“We made up the four points we were behind by and are now six points ahead,” McInnis said.
He thanked the crowd for their support and encouraged all to attend the caucuses Tuesday night.
The mood of the dinner contrasted the feeling of a hard road ahead which Democrats are preparing for. The Republican candidates, who spoke at the dinner in rapid succession, were brimming with confidence that 2010 is going to be a big year for change in Colorado, and Washington D.C.
Currently, Democrats hold the majority in the state Senate, 20-15, and in the state House of Representatives, 38-27. Democrats are on their heels trying to maintain that majority, and Republicans are hoping to gain the advantage come November.
“We’ve got the winds at our backs this year,” said state house district 57 representative Randy Baumgardner. “If you remember two years ago, Republicans were on our heels. But I think that we are going to have a really good year.”
Baumgardner is seeking his second term in district 57.
The night’s keynote speaker was Mark Hillman, Colorado Republican National Committeeman. Hillman blasted democrats for broken policies and raising taxes as a way to balance the budget in Colorado. And he said that Colorado voters were fooled into voting for Gov. Bill Ritter, who claimed to be a “business-friendly” Democrat, but has raised taxes on businesses throughout his tenure.
“After three and a half years, Colorado voters cannot afford to be fooled again,” Hillman said.
While Bob McConnell had a representative attend Saturday’s dinner, Republican Scott Tipton appeared in person and told residents that it’s time for fresh blood in the U.S. 3rd Congressional District. McConnell, Tipton, and Ray Scott, are seeking the nomination to run against third-term incumbent U.S. Congressman John Salazar.
“If you help me fire John Salazar, I’ll help you fire Nancy Pelosi,” Tipton said.
Tipton said that Salazar has voted with Pelosi 97.3 percent of the time, and that is a perfect example of what is broken in Washington.
“Washington is broken,” Tipton said. “We will not fix it by sending the same people back to office.”
That same message was restated by former Glenwood Springs City Councilman, David Merritt, who announced his candidacy for the Garfield Board of County Commissioners at the dinner.
“I’ve been weighing it back and forth and finally decided that this is something that I want to do,” Merritt said.
Merritt spent two terms on Glenwood City Council, one as mayor pro-tem. He said that his main motivation for running for the seat currently held by Democrat Tresi Houpt, is to strengthen the communication between the county and municipal governments, which he said “has always been rough.”
“We need more civil discourse in politics on all levels,” Merritt said.
Merritt will face longtime Sunlight Mountain Resort manager Tom Jankovsky in a primary. Jankovsky announced his candidacy last week and said that he and Merritt have spoken about their intentions to run, and that each will bring something different if elected.
“Dave and I have different backgrounds and different philosophies,” Jankovsky said. “But this is something that I’ve decided it’s the right time to do.”
Merritt said that job creation is the number one thing that the BOCC needs to focus on and that there is a way to work with energy companies to bring those jobs back, while still protecting the environment.
“We need to bring jobs back to Garfield County,” Merritt told the audience. “And we can do that and still protect the environment.”
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