LAKEWOOD, CO -- Congressman Paul Ryan found himself in the battleground state of Colorado Tuesday, but not exactly in the capacity he had imagined several months back, he says.
Ryan, who was tapped as Mitt Romney’s running mate this weekend, held his first solo campaign rally today in a Denver suburb about an hour away from where he had said he was to be camping with his family during congressional recess.
“I was actually planning on being here in Colorado this week, only on my family vacation,” Ryan told the crowd inside Lakewood High School. “You see my family is over at our national forest here in Colorado while we speak, we come here every summer, I've been climbing fourteeners in this great state for over 20 years in this great state.”
"Fourteeners" is a reference to Colorado's 14,000-foot Rocky Mountain peaks.
The reception for the GOP vice-presidential nominee at his first solo campaign rally was enthusiastic -- his nearly 20-minute speech in The Centennial State brought the 2,000-plus person crowd to their feet several times.
This pro-Romney-Ryan-ticket crowd was a big change from Monday -- when the Wisconsin congressman was stumping in Iowa at the state fair and was drowned out by hecklers during most of his speech.
During Ryan’s first full week campaigning since the VP announcement, he will hit six different battleground states on his own: Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, and Florida. It’s a mix of both rallies and fundraisers.
Last night, the congressman held two closed press fundraisers in the Denver area and tonight he will hold a “finance meeting” at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. It is unclear if Sheldon Adelson -- the billionaire who backs Romney and even attended a fundraiser in Israel for the ticket -- will attend tonight’s meeting.
The Romney campaign says it has now raised $7.4 million online from more than 101,000 donations, since the Ryan pick was announced.