Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Bennet visits Springs to rally campaign troops

TOM ROEDER Updated: October 28, 2010 at 12:00 am

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet rallied his troops in Colorado Springs Thursday, saying his race against Ken Buck is the tightest campaign in the country.

Recent polls show Bennet in a dead heat with Buck, a Republican prosecutor from Weld County. On Thursday, Bennet’s Colorado Springs campaign office was teeming with volunteers dialing voters and asking for support.

Bennet, who also made a stop at a downtown business, said the last-minute effort could help him pull ahead of Buck, who has a motivated tea party following in a year that has seen Democrats struggling nationwide.

“If we do everything we need to do between now and election day, we’re going to win this race,” Bennet told his volunteers.

El Paso County is Buck’s biggest stronghold. In 2008, Republican presidential candidate John McCain outpolled Barack Obama by more than 50,000 votes here.

Bennet, though, says the 100,000 potential Democratic votes in and around Colorado Springs make it a crucial stop for his campaign.

“There are a lot of Democrats here,” he said.

Bennet’s Democratic loyalties, including his support of Obama’s stimulus and health care plans have brought a string of negative television ads from Buck’s camp.

Bennet has struck back with his own television ads that portray Buck as a right-wing extremist.

While Bennet has surged in recent days, a late run may not help candidates this year.

The lions share of ballots for the Tuesday election have already been cast by mail voters and turnout at the polls is traditionally sluggish in non-presidential years.

“It’s a battle of turnout,” said Hal Bidlack, chairman of the El Paso County Democratic Party. “It’s going to come down to who mobilizes their base.

Buck will be in town Friday in a bid to get out the Republican vote.

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