The West has long been a Republican stronghold, but Democrats have a chance there in November, Ken Salazar writes in the Los Angeles Times. Salazar himself beat the Republican establishment to win a Colorado Senate seat in 2004. Independents are now the region’s largest voting bloc, he writes, and communities are frustrated by 7 years of “feeling like an afterthought in Washington's policies.”
Barack Obama should look to the area’s resurgent Democrats who, like Salazar, have found support among those resentful of Washington’s consistent disregard. The rural poor of Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada want a leader who will “support family farms, lead a renewable-energy renaissance in rural areas, and fight for the middle class”—issues perfectly suited to Obama, Salazar writes.