Taylor, Ohri keep up grass-roots campaigns


— The state Senate race in District 8, which turned ugly in recent days after political committees started running negative ads about the major-party candidates, had the candidates working hard through the campaign's final weekend.
Both Republican candidate Jack Taylor and Democratic candidate Paul Ohri completed whirlwind tours of the District 8 counties, visiting Rio Blanco, Garfield and Moffat counties, among others, in the past week.
Taylor said he visited seven counties in just 48 hours this weekend. They have each tried to get their message out by bringing it directly to the voters.
Ohri and his mostly volunteer staff spent much of their time going door to door, asking people for their support. He also went with his family to public places such as the Central Park Plaza parking lot to shake hands and talk to local residents. Although many of the districts Ohri must win are dominated by registered Republicans, he is optimistic going into the election.
"I think from day one we've tried to run an upbeat personal campaign, talking to people door to door and on the phone, finding out what their issues are," he said. "I think, to a large degree, we've accomplished that."
Taylor, after his 48-hour road trip, spent Monday afternoon putting snow tires on his car.
He expects to be outside most of the day Tuesday, urging local voters to vote for him. Voters, he said, should remember his experience in the state Legislature when they go to the voting booth today.
"There's only three people that represent all of Northwest Colorado," he said. "Do we want to have all three with no Legislative experience?"
Taylor said it takes two to three years to learn the system.
"I'm the only candidate with legislative experience," he added.
According to the Colorado Secretary of State, Ohri has received $79,653 in campaign contributions, while Taylor has received $108,370.
Libertarian candidate Michael Zuckerman has run a quiet campaign, taking no money and doing little actual campaigning beyond attending forums and speaking to the media.
"I'm taking it pretty easy here," Zuckerman said. "I'm not a professional politician. I don't need to kiss any babies."
Meanwhile, the ads continue, many of them coming from the Democratic side by groups unaffiliated with Ohri. The Silver State PAC ran a series of radio and direct-mail ads denouncing Taylor's record in the state House of Representatives.
Those ads claim Taylor had pushed legislation while in the house making it possible for telecommunications company Qwest to raise its rates in return for campaign contributions. Another ad, paid for by the Colorado Conservation Voters Action Fund, claims Taylor neglected the environment in favor of big development.
Taylor denied the allegations made in the advertisements.
The other two candidates for the District 8 Senate seat have condemned the ads as a negative campaign tactic. Ohri, in fact, took out an ad in the Steamboat Today paid for out of his own campaign funds to denounce the advertisement and encourage the residents of Steamboat Springs and other cities in Colorado to call the Silver State PAC and urge them to stop.
A group called the Colorado Winning Edge out of Colorado Springs has rebutted the Silver State PAC's ad with a radio ad of their own.

To reach Avi Salzman call 871-4203 or e-mail asalzman@amigo.net


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