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July 9, 2012
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Romney sets sights on Aspen fundraiser

ASPEN - Mitt Romney continues his Colorado push Monday when he stops in Aspen to raise funds for his campaign to unseat President Obama.

Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, is scheduled to appear for a dinner event at the home of Susan Crown and William Kunkler. The no-ties, "Aspen casual" event is closed to the public, said Frieda Wallison, a Colorado delegate for the Republican National Convention and one of the organizers of Romney's visit.

About 300 guests are expected to attend the general reception, according to Wallison. Entrance to the 5 p.m. reception requires a $2,500 contribution to the Romney campaign. A VIP photo reception, which commands a $10,000 contribution per couple, is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. A $50,000 contribution gives Romney supporters a seat at a private dinner at 6 p.m. as well as preferred status at the GOP convention, to be held Aug. 27 through 30 in Tampa, Fla.

Standard security measures will be in place Monday for the former governor of Massachusetts, said Deputy Alex Burchetta, public information officer for the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies will be staffed to work alongside Secret Service members during Romney's visit, Burchetta said. Rather than deputies being pulled from their normal courses of duty, "what we'll do is pull people who are off duty and not working that day," Burchetta said.

"We never reduce the number of people on staff for what we call 'rest of the world' events," Burchetta said.

The Sheriff's Office has not set a budget for the event, Burchetta said.

"We try to be fiscally responsible with the money and resources that we put towards it," he said, noting that he is working with other sheriff's officials to determine exactly whom to bill after Romney's visit. Typically, he said, it's the Secret Service that picks up the tab, similar to first lady Michelle Obama and her daughters' ski trip to Aspen in February.

Romney's Aspen visit is part of his recent focus on Colorado, which political experts consider a swing state in the presidential election. On Sunday, the Denver Post reported that Obama leads Romney in Colorado by 3.6 percentage points, according to an average of Colorado polls by RealClearPolitics.com.

On Saturday, the Romney campaign opened its Mesa County Victor Office in Grand Junction. And at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Romney is scheduled to make a public appearance at Central High School in Grand Junction.

"Momentum is building behind Gov. Romney in Colorado, and while the excitement for his campaign grows, it's clear President Obama is faced with an uphill battle in the Centennial State," read a statement last week from the Romney campaign.

Meanwhile, a reception is set for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at 912 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs for the grand opening of the headquarters for the Garfield County Democratic Party and Obama for America.

Obama holds an edge over Romney for fundraising in the 2012 election cycle in Colorado, pulling in just over $2 million compared with Romney's $1.76 million, according to opensecrets.org, a website that tracks political contributions.

In Aspen's 81611 zip code, which represents residential addresses, Obama has generated $42,274 in campaign contributions, while Romney has taken in $24,450, opensecrets.org reports.

In the 81612 zip code - post-office boxes - Obama has drawn $19,500 in contributions. Romney did not make the website's top-10 threshold for campaign contributions in 81612 for the 2012 cycle.

The most tightly-contested Pitkin County area for war-chest contributions is in Snowmass (81615), where Obama has gathered $5,450 and Romney $4,350.

Woody Creek, home of the 81656 zip code, has seen $14,950 in contributions to Obama this year, while Romney has collected $5,500, according to opensecrets.org.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Jul 9, 2012 02:06PM Published Jul 9, 2012 01:40AM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.