DENVER (AP) — Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are making a push in Colorado to recruit volunteers and voters to gain ground in a key state where President Barack Obama has long had a presence.
The Romney campaign is opening an office in Grand Junction on Saturday, the same day the Republican National Committee launches its first “Super Saturday” event. It’s an outreach effort nationwide targeting swing states.
It’s another sign that Romney is amplifying his operations in places such as Colorado that are seen as pivotal to the election.
It’s also a state where Obama’s incumbency has allowed his campaign to focus on phone banks, door-knocking, and other voter outreach since at least last fall, when Romney was campaigning against Republican primary rivals. Obama’s campaign has also opened 19 field offices throughout the state.
Rick Palacio, Colorado’s Democratic Party chair, said having offices around the state “improves our ability to have one-to-one conversations that are critical to communicating the choice between the two candidates.”
Obama’s campaign has argued that voters trust the president with the economy, but the economy is still struggling. Obama was dealt a blow with Friday’s news that U.S. employers added only 80,000 jobs in June. That was the third straight month of weak hiring, and the unemployment rate remains at 8.2 percent.
The rate in Colorado is 8.1 percent.
RNC spokesman Ryan Mahoney said the GOP is confident that Romney has momentum heading into the fall, and that Colorado looks to be close, even though Obama easily won the state in 2008.
“Obama has not been able to use his incumbency to give him a leg up in Colorado,” Mahoney said.
Romney opened his Colorado headquarters last month in the Denver suburb of Lakewood. Romney’s campaign said it has been working with the RNC and the state party for months to build field operations across Colorado.
Mahoney said Republicans will ramp up operations in the coming weeks, and expect their offices in the state to number in the mid-to-high teens. Currently, 10 Romney campaign offices are in Colorado, Mahoney said.
The statewide “Super Saturday” events will happen once a month through October, and will also promote state candidates. Hundreds of volunteers are expected to knock on doors and call potential voters.
By Ivan Moreno, AP Writer (© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)