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Paul Ryan private Denver fundraiser, Lakewood rally more proof of swing state status

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Further underscoring the importance of Colorado as a key swing state in the presidential election, Paul Ryan, the newly named Republican vice presidential candidate, is holding events in metro Denver tonight and tomorrow -- just two days after Mitt Romney announced his running mate.

Ryan began his first solo day on the campaign trail in Iowa today, but is headed tonight to Denver, where he will hold a private fundraising event in Cherry Creek that's closed to the press.

A local spokeswoman for Romney's campaign would not give any more details about tonight's event -- who is hosting, where it's located, whether it's a dinner event or not, etc. But she did confirm that it's fundraiser somewhere in Cherry Creek. It'll be one of Ryan's first, if not the first, solo fundraising event as the vice presidential candidate.

Ryan's visit comes on the heels of a campaign stop from President Barack Obama in Denver last week and a Mitt Romney rally in Jefferson County the week prior.

The Democrats in Colorado and the local Obama team are already organizing counter-events to Ryan's visit -- giving us a taste of the back-and-forth rallies we can expect to heat up as we near the elections in November.

At 1 p.m. today, Representative Ed Perlmutter, State Representative Crisanta Duran and Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio are "welcoming" Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin, to Colorado by "highlighting how the Romney-Ryan extreme agenda would wreck our economy and hurt the middle class, women and seniors," according to a press release sent out earlier today.

NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Inc. has also sent out a release in advance of Ryan's fundraiser tonight, highlighting the candidate's opposition to birth control and abortion.

Women's issues, as we've seen from both parties in Denver, are going to play a key role in the race.

Ryan, as the House budget committee chairman, is known for his budget-cutting measures with proposed slashes to Medicaid and Medicare. As Politico explains, under Ryan's plan, the government would help seniors buy health insurance instead of having them receive coverage straight from Medicare, which is how the current system works.

In the release sent out this morning, the Colorado Dems say that seniors' health costs would increase by $6,350 a year under the Romney-Ryan plan. Predictably, they argue that will hurt the middle class.

Local opponents of Romney and Ryan are likely to push the Medicare issues as well as some of Ryan's social issues -- some of which will come up at Ryan's rally tomorrow in Lakewood, presumably his first public appearance in the Denver metro area.

Ryan will speak at Lakewood High School tomorrow morning, and anyone from the public can register to attend.

After his Colorado stops, Ryan is headed to Cleveland, Arlington, Richmond, Tampa and other cities in key swing states. But given the importance of Colorado, it's likely we'll be seeing more of him and Romney over the next three months.

More from our Politics archive: "Colorado ballots are traceable, unconstitutional, voters group claims"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.

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