Salazar concedes hard-fought race graciously

U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., told supporters Wednesday he was going to go home to his ranch in southern Colorado after a narrow loss to Republican challenger Scott Tipton.

Salazar, D-Colo., conceded the election in a call to Tipton on Wednesday morning in which the two agreed on an orderly transition.

“I told Scott that my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family as he begins the next phase of his journey,” Salazar said in a statement. “For the last six years I have given my heart and soul to the people of the 3rd Congressional District. I have no regrets, and I want to thank my constituents for the honor of representing the most beautiful district in the country.”

Tipton, a Cortez businessman, said Salazar “expressed confidence in my ability to represent the 3rd CD in Washington.”

After what he called “six years of the fighting and bickering in Washington,” Salazar said he is ready to return to his ranch.

The pleasantries at the end marked a sharp difference from the campaign, which began with a sharply battled debate before Western Slope advocacy group Club 20 in Grand Junction in September and ended with thousands of dollars being spent across the district in television and radio ads from the candidates, party organizations and interest organizations.

Tipton was pilloried for his supposed support of a 23 percent federal sales tax, and Salazar was attacked for his support of President Obama’s health care legislation.

In losing, Salazar joined a throng of Democrats who voted for the health care legislation and paid for those votes at their home ballot boxes, giving Republicans control of the House of Representatives.

The health care vote and others fired up tea party organizations in southern and western Colorado who began protesting early on, organizing a “Send Salazar Packing” tour on Memorial Day weekend and setting up a town hall meeting at Mesa State College at the same time Salazar was conducting a telephone town hall meeting.

“I feel like we were very effective in getting the message out,” said Jennifer Bailey, one of the early tea party organizers and a founder of the Western Slope Conservative Alliance.


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