Starting with a prayer and the pledge of allegiance at 7 p.m. Tuesday, GOP Rep. Marilyn Musgrave kicked off her campaign party at Jackson’s All-American Sports Grill on the intersections of 35th Ave. and 20th St. in Greeley, telling the waiting bar crowd that she was “confident that (she is) going to win tonight.”
“We are hoping that Weld County is going to continue to be a GOP county,” Musgrave told the approximately 200 people in attendance. “Has it been a tough race? You bet. But you know what? We’ve been here before. We survived.”
The year is a challenging one for Republicans, as President Bush’s 8-year incumbency crawls to its end. And with national support for his presidency waning, a war Iraq still ongoing and “an economy going sour,” said CSU political science professor John Straayer, the odds appear to be leaning in opposing candidate Democrat Betsy Markey’s favor.
“Musgrave has long defined herself as a single issue person, with that being her opposition to same-sex marriage,” Straayer said. “She’s had marginal success in diversifying, but that image continues to be a drag in her vote-getting ability.”
“It’s likely to be close,” he said, “but it’s always risky to bet against an incumbent.”
Musgrave told the Collegian that she is maintaining her confidence.
“I think we’ve run a good campaign,” Musgrave said in an interview. “I’m looking forward to a win. There’s been a lot of work put in, a lot of good people helping out, so we’re hoping for the best.”
Since 1972, the 4th Congressional District seat has been occupied by the Republican party, and Musgrave has been its Republican since she took it up her position in the 108th Congress in 2002.
In the 2006 election – also close – Musgrave nearly lost her title in a neck-and-neck race with Democrat candidate Angie Peccoine. The results left her standing with 46 percent of the votes, and Peccoine boasting only 3 percent less. Votes for reform party candidate Eric Eidsnus made up the remaining 11 percent total.
“I don’t think this race really compares,” said Ed Jordan, Weld County Republicans chairman. “I don’t feel like it’s close, when we’re talking about results. It’s a tough campaign, but I think Marilyn did real well this year — better than last time. . I think she was more relaxed and able to communicate (with) the constituents a little better.”
Andrew Kjellsen, UNC senior sports and exercise science major and Jackson’s employee, said he hopes Musgrave pulls out a victory.
“For our district, (her win) is crucial,” he said. “What I really, really like about Musgrave is that a lot of her issues and a lot of her ideals coincide with mine.”
He cited the economy as his main concern.
“(Musgrave) has lowered taxes and, to me, kept things at a much better status quo than it’s been in the past. I think she’s doing a great job,” he said.