Two days ahead of the first 2012 presidential debate, which will be held at University of Denver, candidates and surrogates are swarming swing state Colorado and specifically the Denver suburbs that are local battlegrounds.
Mitt Romney visited the neighborhood of Lowry near Arvada Monday evening to reiterate the importance of Colorado’s voice in the 2012 election. John Elway, who announced his support for the Republican candidate this week, introduced Romney at 7:30 p.m. in Hangar No. 1 at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum.
“This is a great place to be, here at the foot of the Rocky Mountains,” Romney said. “I think this is going to be the home of the place that elects the next president of the United States.”
A small group of middle-class suburbanites makes up the five percent of the American electorate who will effectively decide the 2012 election, and Denver suburbs like Jefferson County and Arapahoe County exemplify that group in Colorado. The town of Arvada crosses into both Jefferson and Arapahoe counties.
Romney addressed this in part by asking supporters at the Monday event to reach out to 2008 Obama supporters who are wary of voting for him again. Dispersing among undecided voters and drawing them to the upcoming debates, Romney said, will get him elected.
After witnessing Wednesday’s debate, “I believe that the people of Colorado will choose a better way forward,” he said.
(credit to Maxwell Gulliver who shot and edited the video)
Stevie Kelley, a 19-year-old sophomore at Regis University, said that he attended the event Wednesday to hear Romney’s outlook without media interference.
“I kind of just wanted to see what he was really all about with no filter from the media for once,” Kelley said. “A few of my friends have really been getting into it, realizing it’s our future and we need to take place in voting, every vote matters.”
Damien Riley, 19, attended Romney’s event with friend Kelley. He, too, was specifically interested in seeing Romney in person.
“Hearing directly from him is important to me and not on all of the commercials and things like that,” Riley said.
Event demographics reflected the Republican party, with many less under-30-year-olds than have regularly attended Obama events this summer and fall.
“I figured I would be one of the younger people here supporting Mitt Romney,” Clarkson Coltrane, 30, said. Coltrane lives in Denver and traveled to the event to support what he thinks is a solution to the current, divided government.
“Mainly the House is the one that’s holding up everything,” Coltrane said. “Because of the fact that Republicans control the House of Representatives and they’re not going to bow down to any Democrat, they’re only going to get stuff done if we actually have a Republican in office.”
Coltrane said he is concerned about the slow progression of legislation through U.S. Congress, which is split between Democratic control of the Senate and Republican control of the House.
“I mean, I’m a Republican anyway, and I think a Republican should be in the office anyway, but especially now,” he said.
Political events are booming in the final hours before Mitt Romney and Barack Obama face off at DU in the first of three presidential debates this election.
Women for Mitt will host Ann Romney at the Hudson Gardens in Littleton Tuesday afternoon, and Marco Rubio will rally supporters at the National Western Complex in Denver Wednesday morning. Following the debate Wednesday, President Obama will remain in Colorado for a Thursday morning rally at Sloan Lake Park between Lakewood and Arvada.
Both campaigns are hosting call nights on Tuesday.
The debate will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. Mountain Time and will focus on domestic issues. Of six debate segments, three will focus on the economy and the remaining three will address health care, the role of government and governing, according to a press release.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Alison Noon at Alison.firstname.lastname@example.org.