Strickland makes Steamboat stop

Candidate hoping to unseat Sen. Wayne Allard

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— Doug Monger liked what he saw when he looked out on the crowd before him Sunday morning.

"I didn't realize we still had this many Democrats," the Routt County commissioner told local residents who turned out to see Democrat Tom Strickland in the final stretch of his campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Supporters came from as far away as Craig to meet the man they hope unseats Republican Sen. Wayne Allard Tuesday.

Everette Hess didn't think twice about driving from Craig to see the person he thinks is best suited for the job of Colorado's junior senator.

Strickland has the working family and the best interests of Colorado in mind, he said.

"It's time for change," Hess said. "We've waited a little too long."

Strickland seconded that idea when he addressed the crowd on the courthouse lawn.

"I remember a time when we thought we could change the world and make it a better place," he said.

People are yearning for change again, he said.

Strickland called on his audience to put feet to their fervor for change, and encourage their friends and neighbors to show up at the polls Nov. 5.

"If you get the vote out, then we're going to win this race," he said.

Strickland acknowledged the close race he is in with his opponent.

But he tried to distance himself from Allard by stressing his willingness to work on both sides of the aisle.

Strickland said he is a proud Democrat, but he wouldn't let party affiliation get in the way of getting things done.

The real work of the Senate is accomplished through compromise, he said.

"We're going to be a moderate voice," he said. "It's not about shrill partisanship. If you send me to Washington, I'll fight for you."

Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar and House candidate Terry Carwile joined Strickland on the courthouse steps for the mid-morning rally.

Salazar, who is running for re-election against Republican Marti Allbright, thanked Strickland for being a friend and mentor.

He urged the crowd to send the best candidate to Washington.

Coloradans have a history of choosing quality representatives, he said, and Strickland would be effective on Capitol Hill.

"We want to send someone who is going to make their mark," Salazar said.

Salazar highlighted the importance of protecting the state's resources.

Coloradans have a responsibility to leave something better behind for their children, he said.

Carwile, a coal miner and equipment operator in Craig, emphasized his blue-collar background and promised to work hard if voters elected him to the Colorado General Assembly.

He, too, echoed the message of the day.

"What we have here come Tuesday is an opportunity for change," Carwile said.

Carolyn Antell of Steamboat came to the rally hoping to hear something that might sway her vote one way or the other.

Antell, an Independent, is still undecided about whether to vote for Strickland or Allard.

"I haven't made up my mind yet," she said.

She held a homemade sign that read, "Talk to Iraq. Don't attack."

She hoped Strickland would talk about the need for dialogue between the U.S. and Iraq before advocating any invasion.

"No one's even gone that route," she said.

The campaign stop was brief, so Strickland wasted no time thanking rally goers for their support, posing for pictures and shaking hands and paws.

Several residents brought along their dogs.

Others, like Steamboat resident Bernie Banning, thought the rally was an opportune time to bring the kids.

Sunday's event was 7-year-old Logan Banning's first rally.

Banning said he showed up to lend his support to the Democratic ticket and wanted to extend the civic lesson to his son.

"This gives Logan a little education in politics," he said.

Although the young Banning cannot vote in this election, he participated in some flag waving and listened to the slew of candidates.

As for first impressions?

He smiled and gave an affirmative nod.

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