Cox to share GOP ballot with Tipton in primary
BROOMFIELD — Grand Junction resident David Cox surprised many here Friday when he earned enough delegates at the 3rd Congressional District GOP Assembly to make the primary ballot in June.
That showing will force a Republican primary race June 24 against the two-term incumbent, U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton of Cortez.
Though known to many in the Grand Valley as the co-chairman of Mesa County Patriots, the 32-year-old is a relative unknown elsewhere in the expansive district.
Still, he garnered 33.8 percent of the vote compared to Tipton’s 66.2 percent.
Immediately after the vote was announced, Cox said he thought he did so well because an increasing number of Republicans feel disaffected by Congress and believe the nation is getting too far away from its constitutional roots.
“They’re sick of an unlawful and criminal organization running the federal government,” said Cox, who works his family’s peach farm on Orchard Mesa. “I’m going to fight for constitutional government whether or not I won this vote or got on the ballot or not. ... Anyone who’s paying attention knows what’s going on with the criminality of our federal government. What is happening must be stopped.”
Tipton was addressing Mesa County delegates in another part of the Omni-Interlocken Hotel where the assembly was held when the vote was announced. As a result, he hadn’t heard the outcome until told by a reporter.
He showed little surprise.
“It’s part of the process, so what can you do?” Tipton said. “We’ll run against our Democrats, and we’ll stay focused on our jobs.”
Before the vote, several delegates from the district said they were expecting Cox to earn less than 10 percent, meaning he wouldn’t have been allowed to even petition onto the ballot. He needed at least 30 percent to make the ballot without having to file petitions.
During his nomination speech, Cox focused on constitutional issues, saying politicians in Washington, D.C., are part of a criminal operation, and it would be his task to “expose, attack and destroy” that operation.
He earned huge applause from the 499 delegates when he later called for the impeachment of Democratic President Barack Obama.
“I like to say that I’m not even a member of a party,” Cox said afterward. “I’m a member of the United States public and I care about equality under the law, following the law, and the law is the Constitution. We are not following the Constitution in any way, shape or form.”
During his speech, Tipton touted the things he’s been able to accomplish in the Republican-controlled U.S. House, but said more could be done if the GOP also had a majority in the U.S. Senate.
“When we talk about that Constitution that we all revere, Part One, Section Seven, we’ve got to get something through the United States Senate as well,” Tipton told the delegates. “One hundred and ninety-seven bills sit over there, three of them are mine, waiting for Senate action. We need your help and support. As Republicans, this is not the time to step back, but to stand up.”
Cox became well-known among Republicans in 2010 when he ran for the Colorado House seat now held by Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction.
He only earned 9 percent of the delegates in House District 54 that year after the Daily Sentinel reported that he had several bouts with police over alcohol before he turned 21 and was legally able to drink, including more than a dozen citations for being a minor in possession of alcohol. He was further charged with felony fraud/criminal impersonation in Arvada along with other misdemeanor charges, but pleaded guilty to driving with a revoked license under a plea agreement. He spent five days in jail and one month on an ankle bracelet.
The winner of the GOP primary will face former state Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo, in the fall. Tapia, who also won his party’s nomination at the Democratic Party district assembly in Denver on Friday, jumped into the race only a month ago.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly said David Cox had a felony conviction for criminal impersonation, and included incorrect district information.