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Lifelong Republican Campaigns In Colorado For Clinton

By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4)- A lifelong Republican, Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman, says she's "all in" for democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Whitman told a group of Colorado business leaders, "I am raising money, contributing funds, doing events around the country. In short, I'm doing anything I can to help Hillary win."

Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman (credit: CBS)

Once the Republican candidate for governor in California, Whitman is maybe the most prominent conservative yet to hit the campaign trail for Clinton.

She has occasionally supported democratic candidates in the past but says, "Most of my giving and most of my support has been for Republicans."

Hillary Clinton (credit: CBS)

Whitman admits it's not easy to cross party lines, "I've taken some flak, of course. I'd say probably 75 percent of the people have said 'Thank you for doing this, thank you for standing up for what you believe' and 25 percent of the people don't agree. They think Trump would be a better president. So, I hear from those folks but that's what's great about a democracy."

She doesn't agree with Clinton on all policies, like free trade. Clinton is opposed to the TPP trade deal. But, Whitman says the democratic candidate is far better than Donald Trump for the economy and jobs.

Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman campaigns in Colorado for Hillary Clinton (credit: CBS)

"We need to compete globally for the industries with the right training, with the right centers of excellence and frankly the right leadership and my belief is that Hillary's initiative on technology and innovation will help," said Whitman.

A CEO with deep pockets and considerable ties, Whitman held a breakfast with local business leaders in Denver looking for recruits. Randy Brodsky, CEO of Primus Aerospace, was the lone conservative to show up. He says his vote is more than a protest vote.

Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman campaigns in Colorado for Hillary Clinton (credit: CBS)

"I think Hillary's going to provide the most certainty and probably put the most focus on the economy short term and I don't believe the markets can really afford be disrupted at this point. They're somewhat fragile and I think stability is the right thing and I think Hillary is the person that can provide that for the country," said Brodsky.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, whose pro-business record has long earned him Republican cross-overs, suggests this election - for all its shallow moments - has caused people to look deeper.

john hickenlooper
Gov. John Hickenlooper (credit: CBS)

"There are two silver linings to Donald Trump's candidacy. One is that the first question I get asked is not always about marijuana when I'm out of state. But the second one, which might be more important, is that I think it is making people question is it always the party first and shouldn't we get to a point where the country matters more than the party," said Hickenlooper.

For Whitman, the answer is easy, "I've always voted Republican but this election my sense was we have to put country before party."

Donald Trump
Republican President candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum on July 29, 2016. (credit: JASON CONNOLLY/AFP/Getty Images)

But, she says she's not abandoning her party, "I'm Republican and will stay a Republican."

Shaun Boyd is CBS4's political specialist. She's a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

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