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Rachel Maddow surprises Fremont County Democrats

Author: Lynn Bartels - February 1, 2016 - Updated: February 1, 2016

FDRcountypix-1.jpg

When the Fremont County Democrats asked me to speak at their FDR dinner, I  pointed out I now worked for a Republican, Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

Thanks, Fremont County Democrats, for the invitation to speak at your annual FDR Dinner.
Thanks, Fremont County Democrats, for the invitation to speak at your annual FDR Dinner.

I added I was a registered Republican, although at times I have been a Democrat and unaffiliated.

No matter, said chair Gloria Stultz.  They wanted to hear me speak ever since, when as a Denver Post reporter, I gave MSNBC host Rachel Maddow a tour of the Democrats’ Bannock Street Project in Denver during the 2014 election.

So one week ago today, I headed to Cañon City with a surprise for the Fremont County Democrats: Williams and Maddow videotaped a greeting for the dinner guests.

“I’m sending you this video message basically as like a liberal hall pass for Lynn Bartels,” Maddow said. “I hearby swear she’s awesome, she’s totally trustworthy, she is way funnier than your average liberal or conservative. … Lynn Bartels is one Republican who has this liberal’s good housekeeping seal of approval.”

(You can see the videos at the end of this blog.)

The FDR dinner guests could understand Williams agreeing to videotape something for his new communications director, but they wondered how in the world I got Rachel Maddow onboard? Actually I asked for a letter and her clever producer Ron Dodd suggested a video.

After the dinner I posed with Gloria Stultz, chair of the Fremont County Democrats.
After the dinner, I posed with Gloria Stultz, chair of the Fremont County Democrats.

After Maddow’s remarks, I opened by telling the dinner guests, “Yes, I’m a Republican, but I can explain.” And I went through my registration switcheroos.

Life’s tough in Fremont County for Democrats, who last controlled the county more than half a century ago. These days,  Republicans outnumber Democrats more than 2 to 1 and Democrats comprise only 20 percent of total active voters.

Stultz said when she ran for office people she had known all her life told her they really liked her, but they just couldn’t vote for a Democrat.

FDRpie

Still, Democrats definitely enjoy themselves in Fremont County. Their dinner was great fun and I won a homemade apple pie during the dessert auction. A steal for $35. The second, identical pie went for $65. And kudos to the three Republican county commissioners — Debbie Bell, Ed Norden and Tim Payne — for attending the FDR dinner and successfully bidding on a dessert.

Thanks to Sarah Rose from the Cañon City Daily Record for her story on the event, including this quote:

“I’m more intrigued with the person, not the party,” Bartels said. “It should be like that everywhere.”

The Rachel Maddow video.
The Wayne Williams video.

To see more posts from Lynn Bartels, visit her official blog at the Colorado Secretary of State website.

Lynn Bartels

Lynn Bartels

Lynn Bartels worked as a journalist for 35 years, including 16 years at the Rocky Mountain News and six years at The Denver Post, before retiring in 2015 and going to work as the spokeswoman for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.