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Lincoln Day Dinner has local Republicans looking to future

Nate Waggenspack
Colorado Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, speaks to Moffat County Republicans at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner on Saturday at the Clarion Inn & Suites.
Nate Waggenspack

— In remembrance of the first Republican president of the United States, Moffat County Republicans gathered to celebrate their elected officials and look to the future.

The annual Lincoln Day Dinner took place Saturday night at the Clarion Inn & Suites and featured words from a variety of elected officials, locals aspiring to become part of county government and state representatives.

Several locals stepped up and offered their pitches to the dinner on their candidacies for upcoming elections, while others, such as retiring Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz, gave thanks with farewells.



“I’m going to try not to get emotional, but I’ll tell you what, there are some incredible people in Moffat County and some incredible people in this room,” Jantz said in a heartfelt speech, thanking many people for their support and advice during his tenure.

State Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, spoke about running for another term in the Colorado House and working to get on the house budget committee, saying Western Colorado always has been his top priority.



“I think I can do you a lot of good things on the budget committee,” he said. “I will continue to fight for western Colorado and rural Colorado. That’s my main thing.”

Rankin said making the Moffat County Lincoln Day Dinner was a priority for him in order to see local government, something he thinks is extremely important, in action.

“I represent three counties, and one of them is Rio Blanco, which doesn’t have a Lincoln Day Dinner,” he said. “So between Garfield and Moffat County, I would not miss either one. You can get a sense of what’s going on and it’s inspiring to see the people you represent. We talk about local control all the time (at the statehouse). To see it in action is the best part about coming to these.”

The Colorado Republican state chairman was the keynote speaker for the evening and touched on a variety of topics, noting that 2014 is the 150th anniversary of a GOP presence in Colorado, after it sent a delegation to support Abraham Lincoln’s nomination for a second term in 1864.

Call also spoke about the party’s challenges in appealing to the growing groups of electorate in the state, saying Colorado Republicans have a chance to lead the way for the rest of the country.

“Colorado has a unique opportunity to show if it works in Colorado, it can work anywhere,” Call said about building the party through educating the growing groups of voters in the state about its goals. He cited Pueblo County, a historically liberal-leaning county, electing Republican Sen. George Rivera as evidence of that possibility.

State Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Cowdrey, was not expected to be in Craig on Saturday and was represented by his wife and son, but he arrived later from another function in Rifle. Baumgardner talked about his continued commitment to serving rural Colorado even as he is involved in a campaign to be a U.S. senator.

Baumgardner expected the event to be over by the time he arrived but was pleased to stop in and see many of the locals with whom he has developed relationships.

“It’s about me as a representative staying connected with the people I represent,” he said. “I travel my district, I stop at the mom-and-pop restaurants. These are my friends, and I want to visit my friends.”

In his campaign to unseat current Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, Baumgardner is trying to build the same type of relationships he has with the people of Moffat County all across the state. It has been encouraging so far, he said.

Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.


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