Colorado coming down to Greeley?

As Weld County goes, so goes the purple state of Colorado.

The New York Times has some interesting video reporting up today that shows Greeley as the poster child of Colorado’s new status as a swing state. Although the traveling Times video crew doesn’t report much beyond anecdotal interviews with residents, their choice of Greeley as a bellwether county in Colorado isn’t too far off.

As The Colorado Independent reported in July, Weld County could be where the highly-competitive 4th Congressional District race between Republican incumbent Rep. Marilyn Musgrave and Democrat challenger Betsy Markey is won. With 30 percent of Greeley’s population now classified as Hispanic, presidential candidate Barack Obama has opened outreach offices in the city as well, hoping to court the Latino vote, which already favors Democrats.

The big question is: Will it work?

Voter registration in Weld County still favors Republicans, who hold onto 39 percent of the electorate, while 24 percent of voters are Democrats and 36 percent are unaffiliated, according to secretary of state data.

Despite the Republican majority, Weld County voter registration numbers have slowly trended toward unaffiliated for years, and Democrat Gov. Bill Ritter won the county by 300 votes in 2006 over Republican opponent Bob Beauprez, and Musgrave’s margin of victory in Weld has decreased steadily during each re-election cycle she has run.

The Times’ video reporting shows Greeley residents who were unable to muster much excitement over Republican presidential candidate John McCain but are very excited about his running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and maybe that is all the Republicans needed in Weld County this year — a little excitement over their party.

Time will tell, but for politicos interested in which side of the aisle Colorado might fall this year, keep eyeing Greeley and Weld County.

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Jason Kosena

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