Obama leads in Aspen fundraising

Rick CarrollAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN Presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s bulging bankroll is getting a little help from supporters in Aspen’s twin zip codes.Zip codes 81611 and 81612 have accounted for $26,810 of the $34 million the freshman Illinois senator raised in the first six months of the year in his bid for the Oval Office, according to data released Monday by the website’s campaign fundraising efforts outpaced other presidential candidates in the local fundraising contest; Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., came second with $14,920, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was third with $12,500. Rudolph Giuliani brought in $12,000, putting him fourth on the list and the top Republican money-getter in the two Aspen zip codes, research shows. Nationally, Obama’s $34 million is just $1 million ahead of Clinton’s war chest, while the former first lady’s campaign debt is $3 million, compared to Obama’s $1 million. “I think that mirrors what’s going on nationally, where Obama is leading in fundraising and Hillary is leading in the polls,” said Camilla Auger, chair of the Pitkin County Democratic Party. “This will probably go down to the wire, which is exciting for Democrats but nerve-racking also.”Obama managed to top Clinton in the local cash drive despite Clinton’s more steady presence in the Aspen area. Clinton, whose Aspen ties run deep with past campaign fundraising efforts, was here earlier this month for her own fundraiser. But those numbers aren’t reflected in Monday’s report, which represented money collected between Jan. 1 and June 30.Auger said there’s a chance Obama may make a stop here, but nothing’s certain at this point.”There’s no news now,” she said, “but we’re talking to him.”Among Obama’s contributors are Aspen Skiing Co. CEO Michael Kaplan and his wife, Laura. Each gave Obama $2,300, the maximum amount allowed, on June 30, reported. The Aspen Skiing Co. is owned and run by the Crown family of Chicago; James Crown is co-chair of the Illinois Finance Committee for Obama ’08.Even so, it doesn’t appear all Skico workers are throwing their money Obama’s way. While Basalt resident Robert M. Jones, also a Skico employee, gave $2,300 to Obama on June 30, others staff members, such as Megan Harvey ($2,300 to Christopher Dodd), Kurt Wiggers ($2,100 to Duncan Hunter), and David Corgin ($250 to Richardson) aren’t showing the same allegiance, records show.Other Obama contributors within Aspen’s zip codes include tax attorney Neil Karbank ($1,000), Lowe Enterprises principal and co-owner James DeFrancia ($2,300), Scott Miller ($2,300), Andrea Gordon ($2,100), and Richard Jellinek ($2,300).Among Aspen Clinton’s contributors are Jan Soderberg ($2,300), Aspen Daily News owner David Danforth ($2,000), and Gary and Linda Krat ($2,300 each). Aspen’s two zip codes also outpaced the national campaign contribution of $8,970 per zip code, as 81611 tallied $35,000 and 81612 hit $50,800.Snowmass Village’s 81615 brought in $6,675, below the national average. The town’s most political figure, state Sen. Gail Schwartz, gave $1,000 to Richardson on March 1, data shows. Landowner Peter Droste, meanwhile, gave $2,100 to U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, D-Littleon. Rick Carroll’s e-mail address is


Professional dancers return to Aspen to perform in ‘The Nutcracker’

Roaring Fork Valley natives Emily Ridings and Nikki Ferry have come full circle when it comes to dance. Both studied dance with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet (ASFB) as kids, continued their training with other prominent schools, and now return this weekend, as ASFB presents “The Nutcracker” at Aspen District Theater.

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