The contenders in two tight Colorado Congressional races that have attracted national attention and money have embarked on their final push before Election Day. And the homestretch in the Centennial State will bring the top of the ticket from both parties, with President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney scheduling events this weekend.
But for Sal Pace, a Democratic state lawmaker challenging Rep. Scott Tipton (R), the final leg means a few more days in an automobile hopping from town to town in the state’s expansive 3rd district.
“We’ve gotten a couple of flat tires, and there was one near miss with a moose,” said Pace today by phone while driving between events in Grand Junction and Rifle. Then, it was on to Edwards.
Pace predicts that by Election Day, he will have traveled nearly 40,000 miles during the campaign odyssey. One staffer totaled a truck, but no one was badly injured, he added.
Part of Pace’s endgame is to mobilize Hispanic voters, an effort the candidate said is in conjunction with Obama for America.
“It’s going to be really close here,” Pace said. “We’re going to win Latinos by about 50 points.”
Tipton’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Pace said he had just done a campaign appearance with Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and was set for weekend events with Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) and former Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo.). “We’ve run one of the best-run challenger campaigns in the country,” Pace said.The battleground state has also been a frequent stop for contenders atop their parties’ tickets, and both Obama and Romney will be back this weekend. Romney has plans to stop in Colorado Springs and Greenwood Village on Saturday, while Obama is slated for a rally at the Community College of Aurora on Sunday night.
Aurora and Greenwood Village are part of the territory of the tossup race between Rep. Mike Coffman (R) and Democratic challenger Joe Miklosi in the redrawn 6th district.
“Having the president here two days before Election Day will help ensure voters supporting his re-election and our campaign get out and vote,” said Miklosi’s communications director Ryan Hobart in an email. “It will be a boost to the ground game at an important time.”
Coffman campaign spokesman Owen Loftus said the Congressman would not be able to attend Romney's Saturday event in the district because he was already scheduled to be the guest of honor at a Marine Ball in Aurora. Coffman's wife, Cynthia, plans to go to the Romney rally, he said.
Loftus said the weekend Romney and Obama events underscore the importance of the state's nine electoral votes. "It's always good to have this attention," he said.
Republicans in the 6th district are "vastly outperforming" Democrats in their ground game and get-out-the-vote efforts, Loftus said, and he predicted that Obama's Aurora rally won't be a get-out-the-vote game-changer.
"We've been working the ground since June," Loftus said.
Earlier this week, President Bill Clinton, while stumping for Obama, appeared with Miklosi, who also held events on Thursday with Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.).