If you go
What: Town hall meeting featuring Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer
When: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday
Where: Old Town Pub, 600 South Lincoln Ave.
Call: Vance Halvorson, Routt County Republican Central Committee chairman, at 879-2330 for more information
Steamboat Springs Bob Schaffer hopes to turn the tide in Colorado's U.S. Senate race with a 20-county tour of Western Colorado that stops in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday.
Schaffer, a Republican and former congressman, will speak and answer questions at a town hall meeting held at Old Town Pub and hosted by the Routt County Republican Central Committee. The meeting is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and will feature other Republican candidates including state Rep. Al White, R-Hayden, a candidate for the state Senate, and Randy Baumgardner, a candidate for the state House. The meeting is open to the public.
Schaffer's battle with Congressman Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs, has been one of the most high-profile Senate contests in the country. The Associated Press reported last week that more money has been spent on the campaign than any other in state history. The candidates have raised $12 million, the AP reported, and millions more have been spent by independent groups.
But recent polls show Udall pulling away. A recent Quinnipiac University poll had Udall ahead 54 percent to 40 percent. And in a Rasmussen poll dated Oct. 17, Udall leads Schaffer 51 percent to 44 percent. The previous month's poll showed a much tighter race, with Udall leading 46 percent to 44 percent. Both parties' national senate campaign committees have pulled their advertising dollars from the state to focus on tighter races across the country.
Vance Halvorson, chairman of the local Republican Party, said he distrusts the polls. He said he is particularly suspicious of Udall's big gains in just a few weeks, claiming the dynamics of the race have not changed enough to explain such a jump.
"I don't take a lot of faith in polls," Halvorson said. "I see the media as being kind of strongly to the left. I think, to some extent, a lot of these polls are kind of manipulated. : I would kind of expect that Colorado in the Senate race will be close just based on the history."
While the polls are not in Schaffer's favor, the money is. Financial reports for the first half of October show Schaffer with $1.52 million on hand, compared with Udall's $470,463 - despite the fact Schaffer outspent Udall in that time period, two to one.
To win, Halvorson said, Schaffer needs to spread his message clearly and broadly.
"What I think Bob has to do is the same thing he always has to do: get his message across," Halvorson said. "He needs to continue to speak about issues in greater depth, so the misinformation out there is overcome."
Halvorson said Schaffer supports veterans, will aggressively attack the global economic crisis and has a superior energy policy - one that focuses on environmentally responsible oil and gas development until alternatives become economically viable.
Udall made his own tour of the Western Slope last week. At a campaign stop in Steamboat, he predicted the candidate who wins the Western Slope will earn the Senate seat.
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