Denver Republican state Rep. Scott Tipton announced today that he intends to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. John Salazar for the 3rd Congressional District seat.
"In nine months, our national debt has tripled, the stimulus bills have grown government and ignored struggling Colorado families and, now, Washington is going to force feed the 'government option' of health care on the American people," said Tipton, R-Cortez. "John Salazar in supporting these actions is standing up for big government, but not the people of the Third Congressional District of Colorado."
Tipton appears to have the backing of the National Republican Congressional Committee (The NRCC, which sent out his press release this morning, has not responded to a request for comment on their involvement in his campaign).
He would be the third Republican in the race, joining Garfield County District Attorney Martin Beeson and Bob McConnell, of Steamboat Springs. Beeson raised a lackluster $11,740 from July through September, according to FEC disclosures. McConnell, a retired Army Col., announced his candidacy in September.
Salazar, who was first elected in 2004, had $719,000 cash on hand at the end of the last fund-raising quarter.
He could be viewed as vulnerable by Republicans based on his vote last week in favor of the House health-care reform legislation. But Salazar has also shown an independent streak, opposing the House's climate change bill and, most recently, voting in favor of an amendment in the health-care bill that limits funding for abortions.
Salazar beat back a challenge from Tipton in 2006, winning 67 percent of the vote in the third district, which includes Pueblo, southern Colorado and the Western Slope.