Romney To Keynote C. Springs Lincoln Day Soiree

Many Colorado Republicans have expressed a deep fondness for Mitt Romney – or at least a desire to give him their money. And the presidential candidate is planning to give some love back; Romney will appear and deliver the keynote speech at the upcoming El Paso County GOP’s Lincoln Day dinner.

“We extended the invitation to several top-tier candidates, and Mitt responded that he was really interested,” said Nathan Fisk, interim executive director of the El Paso County GOP. “We worked hard to get him here, and it was really a team effort.”

The July 18 event will not have a theme this year (last year’s theme was “Diamonds & Denim”). Also unlike last year, the event will not be held at Mr. Bigg’s family fun center (home of the “BIGGEST sand pit in Colorado Springs!”) Instead, the group will return to its past venue, the 5-star Broadmoor Hotel and Resort.Fisk said tickets are starting at $75 per plate, and $1,500 and $3,500 tables are also being offered. The Republicans expect a crowd of around 700 people. Tickets can be purchased online at gopelpaso.com or by calling 719-578-0022.

Bob Schaffer, the only announced Republican for the open U.S. Senate seat next year, is also expected, as is Colorado GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams. Fisk said Romney is not being paid for his appearance and is unsure what Romney plans to talk about, but joked, “I imagine a political candidate running for national office would figure something out.”

Fisk said that a fundraiser for Romney is also likely to occur while he is in Colorado Springs, which is a GOP stronghold, but he knows no details. Romney’s speech at the Lincoln Day Dinner, he said, does not represent an endorsement by the county Republican Party. “We are expressly not endorsing Mitt,” he said.

Numerous prominent Colorado Republicans have, however, adopted Romney as their man. As Colorado Confidential’s  Leslie Robinson noted in late April, Romney jumped out of the gate at the top of the cash list, with Coloradans contributing far more to his campaign –  $331,975 – than any other Republican candidate. (Rudy Giuliani, with $102,101, was a distant second, and John McCain took in $76,865.)

Robinson also noted that Romney’s donor file reads like a Republican Who’s Who in Colorado.

Former gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez was one of the largest contributors at the primary maximum of $4,600. Others include CU President Hank Brown; businessmen Bruce Benson, Dick Monfort and Phil Anschutz; former House Speaker Chuck Berry  and his wife, lobbyist Maria Garcia Berry; and businesswomen Katy Atkinson, Kathie Finger  and Ellen Falcone. Former Gov. Bill Owens  is on the list as a whopping $250 supporter.

Cara DeGette is a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential, and a columnist and contributing editor at the Colorado Springs Independent. E-mail her at cdegette@coloradoconfidential.com

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