Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia headlined the Colorado Democratic Party’s 75th Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Friday celebrating state Democratic leadership and recognizing volunteers. Webb also has a Colorado connection of sorts — Webb won a hard-fought race for Senate in 2006 against incumbent Sen. George Allen, whose campaign director was Dick Wadhams, current Colorado Republican chair.Webb spoke before more than 1,900 Democrats at the event that also highlighted Gov. Bill Ritter, U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, Congresswoman Diana DeGette, Rep. Mark Udall, Rep. Ed Perlmutter, Rep. John Salazar, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and House Speaker Andrew Romanoff.
Noting the large Democratic turnout at primaries and caucuses, Webb said that was a good portend to November’s presidential election regardless if Sen. Barack Obama or Sen. Hillary Clinton heads the ticket.
“We need more Democrats in the U.S. Senate since the Republicans have paralyzed Congress with 63 filibusters last year,” Webb said in relation to Udall’s race for U.S. Senate. He encouraged Democrats to help Udall.
Relating to his 2006 Senate race in Virginia against Allen, Webb said he had some interesting memories of Wadhams and his “Karl Rove approach to political campaigns that is really detrimental to everything we are trying to do as Americans.”
Webb added, “This vicious, personal ugliness that camouflages the reality that the other side has run out of ideas is no way to run political campaigns.”
Wadhams is an adviser to Udall’s opponent, Republican Bob Schaffer, for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Wayne Allard.
Webb believes the public is expressing disgust with the Karl Rove mentality toward campaigning. “I think that’s why we’re seeing such incredible turnouts this year.”
He noted that when Bush took office, oil was $24 a barrel and gold at $300 an ounce. Now oil is at $103 barrel and gold at around $1,000 per ounce.
“Six months from now, events in Denver will transform the U.S. and bring us back where it needs to be,” Webb concluded.
In addition to Webb’s presentation at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner, awards were given to Democrats making a difference across the state:
- Democrat of the Year: State Rep. Rosemary Marshall
- Rising Star: Rep. Edward Casso Jr.
- Lifetime Achievement: Wally Stealey and Ernest Duran Jr.
- Volunteer of the Year: Jennifer Trujillo-Sanchez
- Chair’s Award: Congressman John Salazar
- Honorary Young Dems of the year: Sen. Peter Groff; Leah Daughtry, Democratic National Convention Committee director; and Denver Host Committee chair Elbra Wedgeworth
- Active Young Dem of the Year: Cindy Lowery