Dem chair hopefuls campaign in Aspen |

Dem chair hopefuls campaign in Aspen

Aspen Times Staff Report

Candidates for the next chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party will be in Aspen tonight as part of a campaign swing through the state, according to local party officials.

According Pitkin County Democratic Party Chairwoman Camilla Auger, “it’s a very heated race” between the incumbent, Phil Perrington of Denver, and two challengers – Timothy Knaus and Chris Gates, both also from Denver.

Auger said Knaus, an attorney with the high-powered national firm of Patton and Boggs and the former chair of the Jefferson County party, has the backing of the big guns of Colorado’s Democratic Party.

Perrington, according to reports, has been in trouble with his party since a rather disappointing showing in the last election.

But Auger said he has “worked very hard and done a lot of outreach to the rural counties.” But, she said, he has had a “controversial tenure” due to differences with the state’s labor parties and with former Gov. Roy Romer.

Gates, she said, has made his name as the owner of a company that conducts leadership seminars around Colorado and the United States, and is well known among party circles as a “tireless” campaigner for candidates.

Both Perrington and Gates, she said, are running grass-roots campaigns.

But, Auger added, Knaus’ endorsement by party bigwigs is fairly critical, because it shows that he has the confidence of those who have done well in electoral contests in the past.

And, she noted, “Our mission is to get people elected.”

Also on hand tonight will be four of the six candidates for the party’s first vice chairperson. Those candidates include Leslie Robinson of Rifle (an employee of the Glenwood Independent, a sister publication of The Aspen Times), chair of the Garfield County Democratic Party.

Also running for the vice chair’s post are: Linda Cacchione, Julia Hicks, Margaret Atencio, Anne McGihon and Rosemarie McDermott.

The meeting, which Auger said is a chance for local Democrats to get to know the candidates and hear their stump speeches, will be held in the basement meeting room at the Pitkin County Library from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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