State Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park, left, visits with local residents Candace Noriega, center, and Julie Ann Carta during a reception at Mambo Italiano in Steamboat Springs on Saturday night.

Photo by Brian Ray

State Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park, left, visits with local residents Candace Noriega, center, and Julie Ann Carta during a reception at Mambo Italiano in Steamboat Springs on Saturday night.

White courts bipartisan support

State representative formalizes state Senate run at reception

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— Area Democrats, Republicans and independent voters came together Saturday to support the state Senate campaign of Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park, at a meet-and-greet fundraiser in Steamboat Springs.

White's campaign strategy will involve reaching out to Yampa Valley voters from all sides of the political spectrum and emphasizing his ties to the area. Several dozen area supporters, along with the politically curious, stopped by the event at Mambo Italiano.

His appeal to voters stems from being a "moderate Republican" who is engaged with his constituency, said Roxane Miller-Freutel, who describes herself as "very bipartisan."

"From my personal experience, he's a politician who listens - he doesn't just shake your hand," Miller-Freutel said, as she filled out a volunteer card offering her services for White's campaign.

White will take part in what is expected to be a contentious contest with former Steamboat Springs City Councilman Ken Brenner for the District 8 seat being vacated by term-limited Sen. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs.

"I've been told this is the (Colorado) Senate Democrats' No. 1 race, so they'll be spending a lot of money against me," White said.

White's supporters also brought their checkbooks Saturday, adding local dollars to his campaign coffers. The campaign's total fundraising since October has amounted to about $50,000, White said.

White said he was pleased to see "good Democrats" like City Councilman Steve Ivancie turn out Saturday, in addition to local supporters from his own party.

"Regardless of your party affiliation, it's important to maintain good relations with those in power," Ivancie said, noting that he does not plan to take a side in the Senate race.

White expected to be facing a challenge in the Republican primary, against Muhammad Ali Hasan of Eagle County, but Hasan pulled out of the state Senate race Thursday. Hasan will instead seek the House District 56 seat vacated by former Rep. Dan Gibbs, R-Silverthorne, whose seat was not filled by the Democrats after he took over the open Senate District 16 seat. House District 56 is made up of Lake, Park and most of Eagle counties.

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203

or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com

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