Colorado State Sen. Ken Chlouber was just a young boy when he threw the screen door open and ran in the kitchen to tell his mother that he wanted to grow up and be a Democrat. His mother looked him in the eye and said, "you can't do both."
The crowd laughed hysterically when Chlouber tells the joke, and they kept laughing as the punches rolled on Democrats from state and local Republican government candidates. More than 230 people were gathered at Old Town Pub & Restaurant on Saturday for the Routt County Republicans' Lincoln Day Dinner.
The annual dinner and auction always gets a lot of laughs, especially when Chlouber uses his "psychic bidding" skills to know who will bid for an item and how much he or she will spend on it. But the event also is the No. 1 fund-raiser for the Routt County Republicans, a group that supports state and local Republican candidates and their conservative philosophies.
Saturday's dinner raised more than $9,000.
"It is to remind Republicans about conservative issues and the way they feel the country should be run," said Routt County Republicans Chairman Harmon "Buck" Buckland.
Many Republican officials and candidates attended the event, and some discussed their concerns or running platforms.
Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park, spoke about his concerns and asked the crowd to support Sen. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, who announced Thursday he is seeking re-election in the Senate. White takes the same stance as Taylor on several issues, including their common top concern -- resolving the Colorado budget crisis with the conflict between Amendment 23 and the Taxpayers Bill of Rights.
Amendment 23 calls for increased spending on K-12 education, while TABOR limits the government's ability to raise taxes and change budgets to allow more spending. Some say that when TABOR was created, it failed to account for growth and inflation during economic slumps.
White also praised the Lincoln Day Dinner's success and the enthusiasm it builds for conservative issues and candidates.
"It brings a lot of like-minded people together," White said. "Sometimes, we don't even realize that we have similar beliefs."
Matt Smith, who is running for the Third Congressional District, also spoke, saying one of his main concerns is water, and he touted his work in helping to defeat Referendum A last November.
Bob Schaffer also spoke of his candidacy for Congress, saying it was imperative that he be elected so he can support President Bush.
As election campaigns are in full swing, several state candidates had other engagements and could not make it to the Steamboat dinner.
On the Routt County commissioner level, Mark Marchus and Jeff Fry spoke about their candidacy for District 2, West and North Routt County. Also, North Routt Fire Marshall Chuck Vale spoke on behalf of Nancy Stahoviak, who is rerunning for District 1, in South Routt.
Also, keynote speaker, Denver University President Marc Holtzman spoke about why conservatism is important. He said conserving what the United States has is what keeps it a great country and living overseas for almost 10 years helped him see that. He said it is imperative that Bush get re-elected to continue U.S. conservatism.
Holtzman received a standing ovation for his words, but the crowd was even more riled up at the end of the evening when Chlouber ended the auction by selling the shirt off his back.
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