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Politics and Government

Donald Trump Jr. attends Denver fundraiser, but not for Colorado candidates

Event sent $5,000 a person to launch Mark Geist's nonprofit -- called Our Values -- committed to registering military veterans to vote.

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Donald Trump Jr. attended a fundraiser this week in Denver — but not for any Republican candidates in the state.

The president’s son came to Colorado to help launch a new nonprofit called Our Values that is committed to registering military veterans to vote.

The organization is led by Mark Geist, who is better known as “Oz” for his role in helping to fight off the 13-hour attack on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.

Donald Trump Jr., right, greets Mark Geist at a fundraiser on Sept. 20, 2018, at the Brown Palace in Denver. (Provided by Pac/West Communications)

Geist, who lives in Colorado, is a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump and spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

The tickets for the Thursday fundraiser at the Brown Palace cost $5,000 each, and Geist told The Colorado Sun he expected to raise $100,000.

Trump Jr. — who authored an incendiary attack on the Democratic Party published online Friday by The Denver Post — did not attend any candidate events, organizers said.

Six weeks before Election Day, it’s still unclear whether President Trump and his political allies will endorse Republican Walker Stapleton in the governor’s race against Democrat Jared Polis. 

Even with the tight timeline, Geist is planning to register as many veterans as possible before Nov. 6. His effort will start in Colorado with plans to expand it nationwide for the 2020 election.

In Colorado, Geist told The Sun, there are roughly 400,000 veterans and an estimated 18 percent — or 70,000-plus — are not registered to vote. Others, he added, are disenfranchised because of problems with the absentee ballots they received while serving overseas.

“It’s about just getting them involved, bringing them from the fringes back into the fold,” Geist said. “There’s a lot of guys out there that just kind of step away from things. We want to make sure that they are not. We want to bring them into … being a part of that bigger thing again. As a voter, it’s the same as serving in the military. I’m serving this country by voting.”

Donald Trump Jr., left, poses for a photograph with Mark Geist at a fundraiser Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018 at the Brown Palace in Denver. (Photo Provided by Pac/West Communications)

If more veterans voted — and their family members did the same — Geist said “politicians would stand up and take notice.”

“If veterans want to fix veteran issues, then we all have to vote — we have to be a concerted effort,” he said. “I’m not expecting everybody to vote Republican, or everybody to vote Democrat or independent — I don’t care which way you go — because if we as a group stand together (we can) get their votes heard.”

In terms of Trump’s performance on veterans issues, Geist says he likes what he sees.

“Our president has done a phenomenal job in bringing that organization to task, but we can always do better,” he said.