GREELEY — It didn’t take long for U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet to fire up the room full of Democrats at the Weld County Democratic Party Assembly at Island Grove Events Center in Greeley on Saturday.
The Colorado Democrat, who came to the assembly as a surrogate for Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., knows what it’s like to win a close race after narrowly defeating Weld District Attorney Ken Buck in the U.S. Senate race in 2010.
This time, though, Bennet was stumping for Udall, and he didn’t hold back when talking about how Udall should keep the seat over U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.
“The fortunate thing for us is you couldn’t have a starker contrast. You couldn’t have a broader difference than Mark Udall and Cory Gardner,” Bennet said. “It would be impossible. I actually like Cory Gardner personally, but he has the 10th-most-conservative voting record in the House of Representatives. Think about the people that are in the House of Representatives. Michele Bachmann comes to mind. She had a less conservative voting record than Congressman Gardner did. When we were fighting to get the $450 million for the floods and Mark was leading that? Congressman Gardner voted to shut the government down at that time. I think that should be disqualifying to be in the United States Senate.”
Bennet pounced on Gardner for changing his position Friday on personhood efforts, and received one of several standing ovations from the Democrats as he pounded his fist on the table.
“He supported until yesterday the personhood amendment,” Bennet said. “He voted for it last year and said he was thinking about changing his mind ever since Colorado rejected it by 70 percent in 2010. But somehow he didn’t get around to changing his mind until his last primary opponent dropped out of the race, and he was running for the senate against Mark Udall. We’re not going to be fooled by that. Mark Udall has fought over and over again, and I’m right by his side, making sure that women in Colorado get to make decisions about their healthcare.”
On immigration reform, Bennet said: “Mark Udall has worked day and night to make sure that we pass comprehensive immigration reform in the United States Senate, and Cory Gardner has not lifted a finger.”
State Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley, said it was good to see Bennet in Greeley charging up the Dems.
“The fact that he took time to come to Weld County is appreciated not just by the Weld County Democrats, but should be appreciated by everybody in Weld County that he cares enough to come and really articulate to us that it’s important that we count in this county and that he represents us and so does Mark Udall,” Young said.
Rochelle Galindo of Greeley, the president for the Weld County Young Democrats and a delegate for the state assembly April 12 in Denver, liked what she heard from Bennet.
“He was really fired up. He was ready to go,” Galindo said. “He laid it out pretty much. Gardner is basically just getting funded by big business and big money, and basically just trying to buy our senate seat and it’s not something that we need to allow to happen. To know that we have a statewide representative fighting for what we believe in is very inspirational.”
Weld County Democratic chairwoman Patricia Bruner was pleased with the turnout of about 130 Democrats on a cold and snowy day, and was happy that Bennet made an appearance.
“It was really wonderful for the Party. Michael has a lot of fire and passion,” Bruner said. “People were very excited to have him come and speak. A lot of people are very committed here in reelecting the senator, and it’s very important that Colorado has a moderate voice and a voice that has common sense,” Bruner said.
The Weld County Republican Party will host its county assembly at Northridge High School in Greeley on Saturday.