HD-51: Was This The Speech That Won The Seat?

HD 51 Candidate Brian DelGrosso

Video: StateBill.com

First Round
Tom Buchanan: 19
Brian DelGrosso: 19
Kevan McNaught: 8
Kari Koppes: 4
Jeanni Barnthouse: 4

Second Round
DelGrosso: 29
Buchanan: 24
Barnthouse: 1

LOVELAND — Did a campaign speech Thursday night give Domino’s Pizza franchisee and political novice Brian DelGrosso a victory in Colorado’s HD-51 vacancy committee election?
Well, it didn’t hurt.
After an impassioned nomination-acceptance speech, where he decried raising taxes during a recession, DelGrosso, 37, drew enough votes — 19 —to tie for first place after a first round of voting. Minutes later, he claimed victory as he picked up nine more votes in a second round of balloting.
Some in the crowd said it was his stump speech as well as DelGrosso’s business experience that attracted them to him to his fledgling candidacy. [Videos of all five nomination speeches appear here.]
Larry Carillo, the Larimer County Republican Party chairman, said it also helped that DelGrosso did more than just call all of the 69 electors in the vacancy-committee election. He knocked on everyone’s door — a get-out-the-vote effort unmatched by his competitors, which included longtime party notables Tom Buchanan and Kevan McNaught.
Buchanan, a veteran and organizer of the Loveland’s opposition “tea parties,” did well enough to match DelGrosso’s vote output after the first round. But McNaught, who lost a primary battle in 2006 for the seat, struggled amid a residency flap and dropped out when he was marked on eight ballots.
“As a businessman and a citizen, I’m frustrated and angry,” DelGrosso told a packed crowd in the basement of the city’s sweltering Pulliam Building downtown. “I’m tired of the destructive path that I see our state is on. Our economy is struggling, families are struggling, unemployment is up, and businesses are fighting just to stay open — let alone not lay anyone off.”
“Common sense would tell you don’t raise taxes in the middle of the recession.”
DelGrosso emphasized that his “vast business experience as an owner” is where he differentiated himself from the other candidates.
To ease potential concerns about his newcomer status, DelGross also said, “I can assure you that I know our parties platform and feel that I can represent it well.”
And in an apparent reference to the former office holder, Don Marostica, who inflamed Republican passions by siding with Democrats on key legislation and eventually being hired by Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter, DelGrosso told voters: “I don’t want to be the representative where when I see you coming … I duck my head and walk the other way and hope that I don’t have to talk to you.”
There was little reference Thursday night to TABOR, the tax limitation amendment that Republicans feel has come under attack by Democrats. But after his victory, DelGrosso said he told voters privately that he supported TABOR and would do allhe could to defend the measure.
The Cheyenne native — who moved to Colorado only four years ago — also said he hopes to land a spot on the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee.

HD51 Candidate Jeanni Barnthouse

HD51 Candidate Tom Buchanan

HD51 Candidate Kari Koppes

HD51 Candidate Kevan McNaught

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