Todd Palin visits Glenwood Springs |

Todd Palin visits Glenwood Springs

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Secret Service agents stood next to Garfield County commissioner candidate Mike Samson. Three feet away was Todd Palin, the husband of Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin; he wanted Samson to talk about the important issues facing the county.

Samson’s conversation with Palin came about 14 hours after the Rifle Republican spoke in front of a crowd of about 20,000 at Suplizio Field in Grand Junction Monday night as a warm-up to a speech by Sarah Palin.

It was a dramatic change from what Samson is probably used to. Just four days ago, he was speaking in front of a crowd of about 40 people.

“Who would have thought six months ago you would be doing something like all this?” Samson said of his sudden experience in presidential politics.

With just 14 days left until Nov. 4 and Colorado’s king-maker status in this year’s presidential election, the McCain-Palin campaign sent Todd Palin to meet with Republican supporters Tuesday morning at a Glenwood Springs Village Inn. His appearance is the third high-level visit representatives that the McCain and Barack Obama presidential campaigns have made in Garfield County this election.

“It is nice to be down here” Palin told a crowd of about 40 people at the restaurant. “We appreciate all your support and help.” He later said it was “an honor for our family” to be part of the McCain campaign, then turned away from further questions.

Tom Kise, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, described Mesa and Garfield counties as “battleground” areas in the close fight between McCain and Obama, a Democrat, to capture the state’s nine electoral votes. He said turning out Republicans on the Western Slope, especially in Mesa County, was important to the McCain campaign.

He then teased Roaring Fork Valley-area reporters by saying McCain plans to return to Colorado on Friday, hinting that one of the places the candidate will visit is a town where a presidential candidate hasn’t been to in a “long time.” Republican county commissioner candidate John Martin, a three-term incumbent who is running against Stephen Bershenyi in the District 2 commissioner race, said no modern-day presidential candidate has made a visit to Garfield County.

Scott McInnis, a former congressman whose district included Glenwood Springs and who introduced Palin to area residents at the Village Inn on Tuesday, said the attention the Western Slope and Colorado has received from the presidential campaigns this year is because of Colorado’s crucial nine electoral votes.

“That would not happen if not for the Electoral College,” said McInnis, a Glenwood Springs native, of the candidates’ stops in Colorado this year. “It forces the candidates to come to Colorado.”

Kent Jolley, a rancher from New Castle, said he came to see Palin to show support for the McCain campaign.

“We want them to win,” he said, adding he thought Palin was more experienced than Obama for the job of president. “It is important for the country.”

As Palin began visiting with the Republican-leaning crowd, Golden resident Rosie Lewis watched. She and her friends had breakfast at the Village Inn early Tuesday, but they decided to stay a little longer after learning that Palin was set to come to where they were eating.

“We may be the only ones wearing the right buttons,” said Lewis, 70, who was wearing a “Change We Can Believe In” button in support of Obama. She added there wasn’t a “damn thing” Palin could do to win her vote.

Lewis also said that Palin’s visit to Glenwood Springs indicated the importance of Colorado in this year’s race, especially since recent polling shows Colorado might go blue for Obama.

“They are worried about Colorado,” she said of McCain’s campaign.

Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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