Bennet, Hickenlooper, Udall, Pena rally the troops Sunday

The big guns were out in force for the Democrats Sunday at a get out the vote rally near Colfax and Kipling in Lakewood.

Both Sen. Michael Bennet and gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper brought their buses, the wives, their kids and their friends.

Among the luminaries showing up to rally voters and volunteers were Sen. Mark Udall, lieutenant governor candidate Joe Garcia, Lakewood Mayor Bob Murphy, former Denver mayor and Clinton cabinet member Federico Pena, and Secretary of State Bernie Buescher.

On Sunday, in Lakewood, Bernie Buescher, John Hickenlooper, Helen Thorpe and Federico Pena rally Democratic voters. Photo by Scot Kersgaard.
“One of the things I know is that you are not here for me,” Bennet told the crowd. “I’m not here for me. You are here for working people all across the state who are going through the worst recession since the great depression.

“You are here for people who have lost their jobs in this savage economy.

“You are here for young people in our state who are trying to get a college education during these difficult economic times while the cost of college just keeps going up and up.

“You are here for every one of the 850,000 children going to school across our state who believe that we will keep the promise to them that the zip code they are born is is not going to define the quality of the education they get,” Bennet said.

Talking about his opponent, Republican Ken Buck, Bennet said, “He’s reflecting a bunch of talking points that have been written by right wing think tanks in Washington, D.C.

“Maybe the most important distinction came out the other night in a debate when they asked us, what is the one thing you said during the campaign that you would take back? Do you know what my answer was? ‘Nothing’. because I said what I meant from one part of the state to the other, from rural areas to urban, during the primary and after.

“He (Buck) was able to pull out something from just the past 24 hours when he said he thought climate change was a hoax and maybe he was rethinking that, but the list is long and I can tell you that the last thing that Colorado needs, the last thing the country needs is another politician saying one thing during their primary and another thing during their general election, one thing in rural parts of the state and another thing in urban parts.”

He said he expects a close election, possibly decided by hundreds of votes, and urged people to continue working on get out the vote efforts.

The crowd of more than 100 people gathered in a parking lot was a mix of the curious, out and out fans, and active volunteers.

One volunteer, Dan Hanley, of Lakewood, said he has spent dozens of hours walking his precinct, knocking on doors, encouraging people to vote. Like a lot of other precinct-walking door-knocking volunteers, he expressed pride in getting the highest possible turnout in his precinct.

He said he thinks it makes a lot of difference. “People think they have plenty of time to vote, then it is too late for early voting and maybe they just need a friendly reminder to get to the polls on Tuesday,” he said.

State Rep. Sue Schafer, D-Wheat Ridge, told the crowd she had worked for Bennet when he was superintendent of Denver Public Schools.

“He talked to custodians and bus drivers as much as he talked to board members,” she said. Schafer recounted a time she was walking with Bennet to a meeting at a school. Even though they were running late, he kept stopping to talk to kids and teachers along the way. Someone pointed out to him that he was late for a meeting with some “important people” and he said he was already talking to the important people, she recounted.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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