Mitt Romney launches his Colorado presidential campaign in Fort Lupton. He was last here three months ago on February 7 when he lost the Republican caucus to Rick Santorum. Weld County was a Santorum stronghold and is a voter-rich area for Republicans in the General Election. Romney is starting by firming up his base vote.
His first stop was at a gas and oil company. Weld County has become the Saudi Arabia of Colorado with a sea of oil and gas drilling, all the way to the Wyoming border.
Romney is focusing on the economic issue and gas prices. He hopes to contrast his pro oil and gas agenda with what he sees as a vulnerability for President Obama, who vetoed the Keystone Pipeline, was slow to re-start offshore gas and oil exploration after the Gulf spill, and in general, has favored renewables over hydrocarbons.
Obama is very sensitive to the gas price issue and has tried to counter with advertising, claiming Romney is too close to gas and oil special interests.
The latest USA Today/Gallup swing-states poll claims the race is a dead heat; Romney 45 percent to Obama 47 percent. It reflects a closing of the race since the March poll when Romney was in the midst of the attacks from Republican rivals for the nomination.
Colorado is included in the twelve-state survey: Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The poll also shows Obama voters appear more committed and more enthusiastic as of early May, but with an anxious electorate, expect change.