greeleytribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041021/BREAKING/110210064President Bush will be the first sitting president to visit Greeley in almost 70 years.
Weld County Republican officials confirmed Wednesday night that President Bush will speak Monday at the Island Grove Regional Park Events Center.
Registered Republicans in Weld started receiving computer-generated phone messages Wednesday night. The exact time of Bush's appearance
is not known. White House officials are expected to officially announce the details later today.
Jon Reynolds, a volunteer at the Republican headquarters in Greeley, confirmed the pres-
ident will make an unprecedented stop here Monday morning, just eight days before the election. Tickets for the event are being distributed today.
Political observers speculated that Bush wants to shore up his support in the tight race for Colorado's nine electoral votes and to help Republicans with other close races in the state.
"It's a recognition that Weld County plays an important role in electing the president," said Sean Conway, chief of staff for Republican U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard. "It is not only the fastest-growing county in the state, but one of the fastest in the nation."
Conway pointed to the 1998 election of Gov. Bill Owens, saying the margin of election came from Weld.
Steve Mazurana, a Democrat and political science professor at the University of Northern Colorado, said he thinks Bush is in Colorado because the polls show that he and Sen. John Kerry are neck and neck.
"I'm sure he's here because Colorado is in the game and may be closer to a toss up than the president would like to have," Mazurana said. "He's not here just to watch the aspens change."
In recent elections, Republicans have been able to count on Mountain states, including Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. As the race gets closer, Colorado has seen more visits from Bush and Kerry.
A concern that Marilyn Musgrave, Republican congresswoman in the 4th congressional district, might be dropping in the polls to her opponent Stan Matsunaka may have drawn the president specifically to northern Colorado, Mazurana said.
Greeley resident and Re-publican supporter Tom Roche said he thinks the visit will help Pete Coors in his U.S. Senate race against Ken Salazar.
"It's great," Roche said. "It will be the first time I know of that a presidential candidate has made a stop in Greeley. I'm sure it will draw a fair amount of people from all over Weld and Larimer counties and Wyoming, too."
Conway said Allard has been pushing the president to make Greeley a stop for the past several weeks. He said Bush frequently refers to a stop he made in northern Colorado in 2001 when thousands of people lined the roadways while his caravan drove to Rocky Mountain National Park.
"He loved it here and always wanted to come back," Conway said. "And Weld certainly is a strong county for statewide elections."
Tribune reporter Julio Ochoa contributed to this story.
President Bush will speak Monday morning at the Island Grove Events Center in Greeley. The time of his visit has not been confirmed, but tickets for the event will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning this morning.
Tickets will first go to supporters and "those with an open mind who want to respectfully hear what he has to say." Any remaining seats will be offered to the general public. Tickets are available at the Weld County Republican headquarters, 831 11th St., Greeley, and at the Loveland Republican Headquarters, 1714 E. Topaz Drive.
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