Big week begins in Colorado politics

DENVER — The election is still 35 days away, but the long campaign reaches its Colorado crescendo this week.

The main event will be Wednesday, when President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney face each other in their first debate at the University of Denver.

But the week will be filled with political events. The Romney campaign is paying especially close attention to Colorado, where polls show voters have stubbornly resisted either side’s attempt to run up a big lead.

Romney campaigned in Denver on Monday night at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum.

Romney’s wife, Ann, will campaign for him in Denver’s Arapahoe County suburbs today.

And Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a rising Republican star who introduced Romney at the national convention, will campaign for him Wednesday in Denver.

Obama will hold his first post-debate rally at a Denver park Thursday morning, before flying to Madison, Wis.

The president’s campaign said he would use the rallies to outline a choice for voters between two very different approaches to improving the economy for the middle class. It has been the theme of his campaign rallies for many months.

Romney’s campaign also says the election is a big choice between Romney’s plans to create jobs and “four more years of the last four years.”

But not everyone is butting heads this week. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, a Republican, will share the stage tonight at a Denver happy hour. Bennet defeated Buck in 2010 in one of the closest, nastiest and most expensive Senate races in the country. But the two apparently have buried the hatchet enough to send out invitations to their “Odd Couple” event.

Also at the event will be Durango native Mike Stratton, who advises Democratic campaigns, and former state GOP chairman Dick Wadhams.