Although their candidate is 10 points down in polls in Colorado, supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump aren’t letting that dampen their zeal to see him elected.
On Saturday, the Trump campaign opened several field offices across the state as part of a “national day of action,” according to Patrick Davis, who heads up Trump’s efforts in our square, swing state.
As with many things Trump, the facts and figures are vague. Trump’s website says the campaign opened four new offices Saturday in Wheat Ridge, downtown Denver, Greenwood Village and Loveland. Yet Davis told The Colorado Independent the campaign was setting up 10 offices around the state Saturday, including ones in Mesa and El Paso counties. Most of those offices are shared between the Trump campaign and county Republicans, according to Trump spokesperson Lydia Blaha. The standalone campaign offices, for now, are in Denver and Wheat Ridge.
An open house at the Wheat Ridge office drew a steady stream of more than 100 supporters – more than the office could hold. The mostly older, white crowd spilled out onto the sidewalk and parking lot, talking up their candidate and discussing issues such as immigration, jobs and foreign policy. They walked out with handfuls of bumper stickers, yard signs and enthusiasm for the next two months before early voting begins.
Momentum is building for Trump in Jefferson County, according to Don Ytterberg, chair of the Jefferson County Republican Party. He called Saturday’s turnout “extraordinary,” adding, “It’s an upbeat group. I knew once the locus of the campaign was announced, people would gravitate to it.”
“We are uniting around our candidate. We need to elect Donald Trump – we need his tax plan, his economic experience and the justices he will appoint,” he added, instead of the ones that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would name. The party is still working to pull in those who have been slow to embracing the nominee, he said, but he believes eventually enough voters will come around to win Trump the White House.
Davis said Saturday’s turnout was better than he expected. “We know that jobs and the economy are the most important issue in Jefferson County and around the state,” and that people haven’t had pay increases or are working multiple jobs to get by, he said. “Donald Trump offers hope that this will get better.”
Davis said opening a Trump office in downtown Denver was “an aggressive move for a Republican presidential candidate,” given that the city is a Democratic bastion. “It’s a place where we think we can have 20-minute conversations” with people who have questions and want to be convinced to support Trump, Davis said.
The most enthusiastic volunteer at Saturday’s event had to be 12-year old Weston Imer, who is the volunteer co-chair of the Wheat Ridge office along with his mom, Laurel. “I’m at every Trump event, at every district meeting – I’m everywhere,” he proudly told The Independent. During the Saturday open house, Imer dashed from one person to another, carrying around a computer tablet and rallying volunteers.
Imer, who’s entering 7th grade at Golden View Classical Academy, is also the founder of Colorado Kids for Trump, which he hopes will help young people who may be picked on for supporting Trump. He’s already signed up co-chairs in several other counties who will help him defend students’ free speech rights, he added.
The need for the group is based on his own experience. Imer said he has been bullied by students at his school who supported Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Imer’s work on behalf of the Trump campaign has made him something of a celebrity in the past few weeks, with several TV and newspaper stories on his work. He says he’s looking forward to going back to school now that Trump is the nominee, and to see how the kids who bullied him react to his new-found fame.
As for his own future, Imer is aiming high. He hopes to run for president with Trump’s youngest son Barron Trump as his vice-presidential running mate in 2040.
Photos by Allen Tian and Marianne Goodland, The Colorado Independent