When Republican Scott McInnis announced he would be ending his six-term run as representative for the 3rd Congressional District, he told supporters he had spent an estimated 3,600 nights away from home, flown 3 million miles and driven 50,000 miles annually over almost a dozen years.
Doug Sitter, a tax attorney from Durango with no past experience in the political arena, is prepared to make a similar sacrifice to represent his district in Washington, D.C.
The self-described "conservative reformer" is the latest contender to enter the race to be the Republican nominee for the sprawling 3rd Congressional District in the November 2004 election.
"Our great country faces a number of daunting challenges in the years ahead. And it's going to take someone with a caring heart and the spirit of sacrifice to help lead us through those challenges," Sitter said at his Dec. 8 candidacy announcement at the Sunshine Gardens West Assisted Living Facility in Durango.
Charlie Buhl, chairman of the La Plata County Republicans, said he doesn't know much about the new Republican candidate from his county. Sitter has not been active in local La Plata County Republican Party activities, Buhl said. He said Sitter recently started attending local Republican Party meetings after deciding to run for the 3rd Congressional seat.
Sitter kicked off his campaign with a focus on tax reform, health care reform, winning the war on terrorism and bringing local control to "issues like education, gun control and family values," according to his campaign materials. He advocates replacing the complex federal tax code with a flat tax -- a single-rate tax for all Americans, regardless of income level.
"I'm a proud conservative, committed to shrinking the size and scope of the federal government and giving local people control over their own futures," Sitter says on his Web site.
Sitter joins nine other candidates, including four Democrats and five Republicans, in the race to represent a district that covers most of the Western Slope and extends as far east as Las Animas County in southeastern Colorado.
Other Republican contenders who have filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission are: State Sen. Ron Teck, State Rep. Matt Smith, Pueblo County Sheriff Dan Corsentino, Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Greg Walcher and State Rep. Greg Rippy.
Contenders for the Democratic nomination to represent the 3rd Congressional District are State Rep. John Salazar, Grand Junction Mayor Jim Spehar, Jim Fritz and Anthony Martinez.
Sitter plans to visit Routt County sometime after Jan. 1.