GOP urges unity

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— At a Lincoln Day Dinner marked by themes of solidarity, most Republicans in attendance showed that quality by uniting behind U.S. Rep Bob Beauprez for governor.

Beauprez enjoyed strong support at Saturday night's event, which raised more than $10,000 for the Routt County Republican Party with a dinner and auction at the Old Town Pub on Lincoln Avenue. Beauprez and former University of Denver president Marc Holtzman are vying for the Republican nomination for governor.

Although both candidates were scheduled to attend the dinner, only Beauprez made the trip to Steamboat Springs from Grand Junction, where the two candidates debated earlier in the day, along with former Denver district attorney Bill Ritter, the sole Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

The trip paid off for Beauprez, who received endorsements from state Sen. Jack Taylor of Steamboat; state Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park; and much of the energetic crowd of about 125 supporters, who loudly cheered Beauprez's brief remarks about his conservative voting record in the U.S. House.

"It felt extremely good," Beauprez said afterward. "I love coming to Steamboat."

Eagle County Commis-sioner Tom Stone spoke in support of Holtzman and said the former state secretary of technology will bring high-tech jobs to Colorado and "stop the bleeding of taxpayer dollars" that fund services for illegal immigrants.

"Holtzman has a lot of (local) support too," said Jennifer Schubert-Akin, chairwoman of the Routt County Republicans. "Maybe it wasn't as evident tonight because he wasn't here."

Schubert-Akin's husband, Rick Akin, is the Routt County chairman for the Beauprez campaign, but Schubert-Akin said she is remaining "totally neutral."

Former state Senate president John Andrews, host of the conservative radio talk show "Backbone Radio," spoke about a need for Republican unity in his keynote address.

"Republicans have had a tough time in Colorado with party divisions," he said, citing recent party splits on issues like Referendum C, illegal immigration and abortion.

Andrews said the party should focus on the 95 percent of things it agrees on, rather than the 5 percent of disagreements, in order to regain Republican majorities in the state House and Senate in November elections.

"We have to win back the majorities and put Jack Taylor and Al White back into committee chairpersons and leadership positions, where they belong," said former state Senator and former interim state treasurer Mark Hillman, who is running for state treasurer. Taylor is chairman of the Senate's Legislative Audit Committee, and he is the only Republican in such a position at the Capitol in Denver, a situation Republicans said they hope to change.

"We will not lay down," White said.

-- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

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