McCain’s visit today may draw 10,000 people

As many as 10,000 people are expected to fill a hangar at Grand Junction Regional Airport today as Republican presidential candidate John McCain makes a final push for votes in Colorado.

The Arizona senator will greet supporters in the same hangar in which Vice President Dick Cheney drew about 5,000 during the 2004 campaign.

With Colorado hanging in the balance in the 2008 election, Republicans are scrambling for every vote, Mesa County Republican Chairman Gary Roahrig said.

More than half the county’s voters already have cast their ballots, Roahrig said.

“We’d like to think we’ve got more to do,” including garner as many ballots from the estimated 7 percent or 8 percent undecided voters in western Colorado, Roahrig said.

Organizers originally estimated a smaller turnout, but then realized that with many children out of school and the Grand Valley playing host to a third visit by one of the top contenders, more people should be expected.

“This is a piece of history,” Roahrig said.

Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, visited Cross Orchards Living History Farm in September and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP candidate for vice president, was at Suplizio Field last month.

McCain will highlight a program that will begin at 11:45 a.m. in Hangar 2858 at West Star Aviation, 796 Heritage Way.

No tickets are required, but people who plan to attend the rally can RSVP at the McCain Web site, or call 303-952-4670.

Space is first-come, first-served.

Parking for the event will be handled in the same manner as for the Blue Angels performance at the air show, with participants parking nearby and taking shuttles to the hangar area, where they will pass through a magnetometer.


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