GOP waits to see how DNC affects Colorado |

GOP waits to see how DNC affects Colorado

Kristen Wyatt
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” It’s too soon to tell how much Democrats in Colorado gained from having the national convention in Denver. But the GOP isn’t waiting to find out.

John McCain is headed to Colorado this weekend, two days after accepting the Republican nomination in St. Paul, Minn. The Arizona senator already has made several visits this summer to Colorado, a tossup state Republicans say is a must-win for McCain.

Both parties are still waiting to see whether the Democrats picked up support in Colorado by holding their convention in Colorado. Barack Obama’s acceptance speech last week drew throngs to Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium, but McCain has been spending a lot of time in Colorado, too.

Just in the last two months, McCain has met with the Dalai Lama in Aspen, chatted up veterans in Denver and toured a tractor dealership in Aurora. On Saturday, he’ll stop by a rally at an airport in Colorado Springs along with his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Republicans hope McCain’s frequent visits to Colorado counter intense press attention to the convention.

“It remains to be seen” whether McCain was hurt by the Denver location of the DNC, McCain adviser Mike DuHaime said Tuesday.

“It solidified people on the left, people who were already voting for Obama, and it solidified people who were already voting for McCain. … I think the question is what it does to the people in the middle in Colorado,” DuHaime said.

DuHaime pointed out that Republicans outnumber Democrats by party registration in Colorado ” but he conceded Democrats have made solid gains here in recent years. If the state’s nine electoral votes go to Obama in November, it could make the difference in a close contest.

DuHaime said McCain’s background as a Westerner may trump any “bounce” for Obama from the convention.

“Voters in Colorado are going to be more likely to vote for a senator from the West than a politician from Chicago,” he said.

The Arizona senator stops in Colorado on his way to another battleground, New Mexico.

Obama’s camp says the Democratic candidate will be back to Colorado to campaign before November, though details haven’t been announced.

State Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Mueller says Colorado is “a critical state” this year but that the campaign wasn’t immediately concerned with poll numbers.

“We know this is going to be a close election,” Mueller said.

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