Preparations are underway in Grand Junction as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney makes his way to the Western Slope.
The campaign rally in Colorado's largely conservative area is being held at Central High School on Tuesday and kicks off at 10:00 am. Those with ties to Romney's camp says this stop illustrates the importance of Colorado to the candidate's efforts to be elected in November.
"The enthusiasm we're seeing in this area is very high," Colorado Republican National Committee spokesperson Ellie Wallace said. "It's an all hands on deck effort to work to get Governor Romney elected."
Romney's first stop as the presumed Republican candidate follows hours of work by volunteers Monday illustrating a small piece of the effort behind the ultimate goal. And with nine potentially decisive electoral votes up for grabs, party officials describe it as an effort well worth it.
"President Obama won this state by eight or nine points a few years ago and most polls are showing that we're closing the gap quickly," Wallace said. "You can tell by the amount of focus that President Obama is putting out here, that he understands that the mood is shifting towards Gov. Romney."
The last time Grand Junction hosted this kind of highly anticipated political event was also at Central High School a few years ago when then newly-elected President Obama spoke about healthcare.
On Tuesday, healthcare is just one of the topics Romney is sure to touch on as he focuses primarily on the economy which hits close to home for many in the area.
"Mesa County has had a really high unemployment for a long time," Florence Naylor with the Mesa County Republicans said.
She and Heather Williamson both began volunteering for the local party because they want to see change.
"My husband is unemployed currently and so this is the time," Williamson said. "It's exciting [to have Romney hold a local rally]. This is small town Grand Junction and we sometimes don't get the same coverage as say Denver does."
A sold out and filled-to capacity crowd is expected for the campaign stop at Central High School as the presidential campaign spotlight shines on western Colorado.
"We're out there on the ground talking to voters, knocking on doors, making phone calls all the time because it is so important," Wallace said of the upcoming election.
"We need a change and Romney's the guy to do it," Williamson echoed.
If you would like to attend the free rally, you are being asked to pre-register online at www.mittromney.com. The rally starts at 10:00 am on Tuesday with the doors opening at 9:00 am.
School District 51 will not be paid for the use of the school's gymnasium because of its status as a public building. Staff tells us they will charge if there is any additional clean-up needed after the rally.
Local Democrats are planning a rally of their own for Tuesday morning as well. Their sign waving event will take place near Romney's stop at Long Family Memorial Park, 3117 F Road, at 11:30 am.