Obama looking to Colorado for electoral votes | PostIndependent.com

Obama looking to Colorado for electoral votes

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Colorado only has nine electoral votes.

But it might be those “tiny nine electoral votes” that puts presidential candidate Barack Obama into the White House, U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., told an excited crowd of Democrats during a campaign stop in Glenwood Springs on Friday.

“I think Garfield County is at the epicenter of this battle,” Salazar later said of the county’s role in the struggle between John McCain and Obama to win Colorado’s electoral votes.

Salazar said some polling indicates that if all the states that are “dark blue” or leaning “blue” ” which means Democratic leaning ” go in Obama’s direction on Nov. 4 he would be at about 261 electoral votes. A candidate who claims 270 electoral votes claims the presidency.

“Our state could take us from 261 votes to 270 votes and I have all the faith and confidence in the world it is going to happen,” Salazar said.

Salazar, along with former Colo. Gov. Roy Romer and Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Stulp, came to the Glenwood Springs Obama campaign office on Friday just a week after the campaign opened another office in Carbondale.

All three men gave fiery speeches in support of Obama at an office where about six volunteers were making phone calls on behalf of the candidate.

“This nation needs Barack Obama,” said Romer, a Democrat. “We need now to have a new kind of unity. It has to be one that is rational, that is forward looking and can us get us back to the American dream. Barack Obama and Joe Biden can get us there.”

Besides two Obama campaign offices in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, the campaign also has a full-time organizer working for the campaign in Rifle and in Mesa County, said Ed Sands, chair of the Garfield County Democratic Party.

He said Democratic votes in Denver might be canceled out by Republican voters in Colorado Springs and the surrounding area, which could give voters on the Western Slope a decisive role in this year’s presidential election.

“If you look at the numbers, it could be won on the Western Slope,” he said.

Matt Chandler, press secretary for Obama’s Colorado campaign, said Garfield County was an important county for his presidential candidate.

“We have an office open here, we are committing resources on the ground here,” he said. “I don’t know when the last time was that there has been a presidential office here in Glenwood Springs.”

Milt Blakey, chair of the Garfield County Republicans, said there has been a significant amount of enthusiasm for McCain’s campaign in the county.

“We have had a steady stream of people coming to our headquarters for the last three weeks in (Glenwood Springs),” he said. “We can’t keep signs and bumper stickers stocked. It takes everything we can do to get them in. There is a lot of enthusiasm for John McCain.”

Asked if Garfield County would be a battleground in Colorado, Blakey said that regardless of the year or the time, every vote makes a difference. He said the Republicans, along with the Democrats, are doing everything to increase voter turnout.

Blakey said that he was confident McCain will win Garfield County this election year, and that he will win by a fairly substantial margin. Garfield County has voted Republican in 18 of the past 22 presidential elections dating back to the 1920 election between Republican Warren Harding and Democrat James Cox.

Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117


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