Updated May 29, 2012 at 6:26 a.m.
- Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 8:30 a.m.
- Alice Pleasant Park, 500 Block of Yampa, Caig, CO
Steamboat Springs Yampa resident Gary Burkholder plans to leave his home at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday to drive to Craig and see something rare.
“I’m 65, and this is the first time I can remember getting to meet a presidential candidate in this neck of the woods,” Burkholder said as he described why he’s excited to attend Mitt Romney’s scheduled campaign stop in downtown Craig. “We’ve never had this before. I’ve never seen a candidate this close. I really would like to get to know a little more of the personal side of him and get more information than you get on the networks.”
Steamboat Springs Republican Jack Taylor has followed presidential campaigns closely for 40 years, but the former state senator also can’t recall a time a presidential candidate stopped close to Steamboat.
“We’re part of the Colorado scene, and they’re finally realizing it,” Taylor said Sunday. “I’m excited. We’re getting on the map, and that’s good.”
Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee, is scheduled to appear sometime between 8:30 and 9:15 a.m. at Alice Pleasant Park in Craig. Public access to the park opens at 7:30 a.m., and the program is expected to begin between 8:30 and 9 a.m., according to a news release from the Romney campaign.
The Denver Post reported Sunday that Romney is expected to address the effects Environmental Protection Agency regulations have had on the U.S. energy industry under the Obama administration.
As media outlets announced Romney’s visit to Northwest Colorado, some labeled Craig an interesting stop for the candidate and were quick to note the city is a four-hour drive from Denver and major media markets.
Still, the news of Romney’s visit has excited Taylor and other Routt County Republicans. Routt County Republican Chairman Chuck McConnell said he has received phone calls from several area Republicans who, like himself, plan to attend the event.
“I think it’s going to bring energy to his base,” said McConnell, a candidate for House District 56. “I also think it will show independent voters that Northwest Colorado is not out of the limelight. Colorado could be the swing vote in this election. I feel pride that people at this level of the political arena consider Colorado a place they need to go.”
In February, Romney won the support of Republican caucus-goers in Moffat and Routt counties despite losing the state to Rick Santorum.
In the 2008 presidential election, Moffat County voted overwhelmingly for Republican John McCain, and 63 percent of voters in Routt County went for Barack Obama.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com