Utah key to Mitt Romney strategy in battleground states

Published: Saturday, Sept. 15 2012 5:00 p.m. MDT

"I think it's kind of taken for granted because we are in a predominantly Republican state that you don't need to do anything," Jones said between calls.

She said even though Utah is expected to go big for Romney in November, voters here need to get involved.

"You really can make a difference outside Utah," Jones said. "It is important to reach out to the other states and let them know that we care and the election is important to us."

BYU alumni Joel Conte said he knows how important the swing-state vote is because of his family ties to Ohio and Florida.

"I want to be a part of the change," Conte said, sounding a little discouraged at the number of Colorado voters who told him Saturday they supported Obama.

An average of the latest polls in Colorado show Obama leading Romney by three points, according to realclearpolitics.com.

"Right now, a lot of people are just like, 'Barack, Barack, Barack' because they don't know a lot about Mitt," said Jackie Flynn, who rocked her 4-month-old son, Liam, as she chatted with Coloradans.

Flynn said she was volunteering to reach voters who aren't as familiar with Romney as Utahns are, thanks to his efforts to turn around the then-troubled 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

"Just to let people know that there is another option, that is doesn't have to be Barack Obama," Flynn said. "They have Romney, who will hopefully fix our economy."

Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call said because voters in his state could make the difference between another term for Obama or a Romney presidency, the help coming from Utahns is critical.

"That connection from a volunteer is worth 100 television commercials in my book," Call said, predicting the presidential race in Colorado "is going to be won or lost on our ability to communicate person-to-person."

He said campaign volunteers in other states, including Wyoming, Oklahoma and Nebraska, are also reaching out to Colorado voters.

"We're all in this fight together," he said. "We are a battleground state. We appreciate all the help we can get."

A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Call said there's a special connection between Utahns and Mormons in Colorado.

"It's our roots in the West and the kinship we feel," he said, noting that many members of the LDS Church have offered to open their homes to Utah volunteers.

"Utahns will make a big difference," said Sarah Nelson, the campaign's western regional political director. "It's in a perfect spot to help Gov. Romney bring this election home in two key battleground states."

E-mail: lisa@desnews.com Twitter: dnewspolitics

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