LAKEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday reminded Colorado Democrats of the symbolic weight of this year's elections, saying "everybody looks at you as the state of the future" and urging voters to stick with two embattled Democratic incumbents.
In his second rally in 18 hours, Clinton noted that the contests may determine whether Democrats can continue to control the United States Senate. But hovering in the backdrop of the former president's intense stumping in Colorado is the prospect of his wife's upcoming presidential campaign, which will inevitably contend in this swing state.
The Clinton Global Initiative held its meeting in Denver this summer and Hillary Clinton was just in Colorado a week ago in the second of two stops to boost Sen. Mark Udall.
Should Udall, who is narrowly trailing Republican Rep. Cory Gardner in public polls, survive it will be a sign that demographics and a sophisticated get-out-the-vote operation can win states like Colorado even when the national political environment favors Republicans. But if Gardner wins, it may offer the GOP a path forward in states they have been unable to gain ground in during the Obama administration.
Udall quipped that he hoped Hillary Clinton returns to the state "over the next couple of years." Bill Clinton did not mention his wife, but spoke about Colorado's youth and diversity and expressed disbelief that the state would want to part with Udall or Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Udall "looks like an ad for Colorado," Clinton said of the 64-year-old mountain-climbing Senator. "Every positive stereotype you have is embodied in this one person."
The former Arkansas governor was also unstinting in his praise for Hickenlooper, ticking off the state's 4.7 percent unemployment rate and recovery from last year's floods. "Why is this a race?" Clinton asked of Hickenlooper's tight battle against former Rep. Bob Beauprez.
Political luminaries are pouring into Colorado in the race's final days. On Wednesday another political dynasty touches down as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush holds a rally for Gardner and Beauprez.
New election laws led every voter to receive a ballot in the mail and permit any citizen to register to vote through Election Day. Both sides are trying to stoke enthusiasm and turnout. Republicans have about a 10 percent lead in the number of ballots returned early, although both sides expect that edge to diminish.
"Everybody in Colorado can vote. It's the easiest place in the country," Clinton told the crowd. "So it's just a question of who votes — who wants it badly enough."
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