COMMERCE CITY – If Colorado isn’t a battleground state anymore, the campaigns for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump must not have received the memo.
Both camps made stops in Colorado on Wednesday, with Clinton speaking in the Denver area, and Trump’s running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, speaking at dueling events in Denver, and another scheduled for the evening in Colorado Springs.
The campaign events come despite some political analysts, including CNN, moving the state from “battleground” to “lean Democrat.”
The Colorado stop marked the first time Clinton landed in the Centennial State since becoming the first woman to earn a major party’s nomination for president last week at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Pointing to the significance of Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry – especially in places such as Southwest Colorado – Clinton said, “I want you to know that as president, I will defend and protect America’s public lands.”
The thrust of Clinton’s remarks was around jobs and the economy. The Democrat toured a Denver tie maker, Knotty Tie, ahead of her event at Adams City High School in Commerce City.
During a tour of the facility, Clinton criticized her Republican rival for outsourcing branded products to other countries instead of making them in America.
“As I was walking through ... I was thinking to myself, ‘I wish Donald Trump could meet all of you and see what you are making here,’” Clinton said.
The business hires African refugees to produce ties, pocket squares, bow ties and scarves. Clinton mentioned Colorado tie makers in her acceptance speech at the DNC.
Knotty Tie made a reddish pink tie for Clinton with her logo, of which she said, “This would look really good on my husband.” She also was given a scarf made by the shop.
Clinton continued her attacks on Trump inside the high school gym in Commerce City, where 2,000 gathered. Another 1,000 were in an overflow room.
“What kind of man does business by hurting other people?” Clinton asked.
She claimed to have a plan to “build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.” Clinton promised to make the biggest investment in jobs since World War II.
Her plan includes connecting communities to broadband and bringing manufacturing back to America by investing in American companies. She also called for training educators to teach computer science, making college debt-free, making community college free and encouraging technical education. Raising the national minimum wage is also part of her agenda, as well as equal pay for women.
“America’s best years are ahead of us,” Clinton said to a room that erupted in “Hillary!” chants, as the audience waved signs that read, “Stronger together.”
She had some high-power Colorado Democratic support at the rally, including from Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
Republicans turned the conversation on Clinton, criticizing her for attending a pricey fundraiser for her presidential campaign Tuesday evening near Aspen. The Aspen Daily News reported that the outdoor dinner on a ranch in Woody Creek cost between $10,000 and $50,000.
“The DNC may have tipped the scales for Hillary Clinton in the primary, but Colorado Democrats still haven’t united behind her scandal-plagued candidacy,” said Ali Pardo, an RNC spokeswoman. “No matter how many times Clinton visits, Centennial State voters already made up their minds: they can’t and won’t trust another Clinton in the White House.”
Outside the high school in Commerce City – a northern suburb of Denver – Clinton supporters piled into the small space, filling up limited parking and jamming streets around the venue. Supporters seemed to feel like the tide was turning in favor of Clinton, but they remained concerned with the prospect of a Trump presidency.
Trump was in Colorado Springs and Denver on Friday, where thousands wrapped around streets surrounding the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and more packed into an event space at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver later that day.
“What scares me is when Trump supporters solidify it and say, ‘He’s only saying what we’re thinking,’” said Kathryn Beerline of Littleton, who sold Clinton and “take a dump on Trump” pins outside. “What’s scary is it’s so many people.”