BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – With the presidential campaign back on after a storm-related pause, both sides rushed to Colorado to court voters in the final hours of early voting in this crucial battleground.

President Barack Obama spoke to about 10,000 people in the Democratic stronghold of Boulder, and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan was headed to Colorado for a rally Friday.

Both campaigns are seeking to run up the score in parts of the state where they’re strongest before early in-person voting ends Friday.

Obama originally planned to visit Colorado Springs on Tuesday, but he scrapped that trip so that he could monitor hurricane damage from Washington, D.C.

Obama visited the New Jersey shore on Wednesday and assured victims that cleanup and recovery will continue. He resumed his campaign Thursday with stops in Nevada and Wisconsin, in addition to Colorado.

Vice President Joe Biden and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also planned stops in Colorado in the coming days. Obama himself was expected to return to Colorado with a stop in Aurora on Sunday.

Colorado has only nine electoral college votes, but polls indicate the contest could be as close here as in any battleground state.

Obama laid out familiar themes top a friendly crowd during his third stop this year in Boulder, this time at the Coors Event Center on the University of Colorado campus.

“We knew from the beginning our work would take more than one year or even one term,” he told the Boulder crowd.

He went on, “I’m not ready to give up that fight, Colorado.”

Democrats were urged to vote in person or personally deliver mail-in ballots. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet told the crowd it’s too late to rely on mail to deliver ballots by the time polls close Tuesday.

Numbers released Thursday by the Colorado secretary of state showed 1.3 million people already have voted in Colorado, 38 percent of them Republicans and 35 percent of them Democrats.

By Kristen Wyatt, AP Writer

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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