Dem candidate serious about unseating Tipton
May the Schwartz be with you.
At least that’s what the Democratic candidate running for the 3rd Congressional District is hoping voters will remember come November.
Unlike the 1987 Mel Brooks comedy “Spaceballs” where the Schwartz is a supernatural force, former state Sen. Gail Schwartz said she is quite serious about winning the race to unseat U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton.
For the past two re-election cycles for the Cortez Republican, Schwartz has always been on the short list to challenge him. She said the time was not right, but it is now.
“After six years, the incumbent has so little to show for what opportunities or resources he’s brought back to the district,” she said during a brief stop in Grand Junction on Friday. “People understand what they have now in Scott Tipton. People are ready for a change. They feel frustration. They want someone who’s part of the solution, and not someone who goes back and shuts the government down and just be part of the problem.”
After defeating then U.S. Rep. John Salazar, a Democrat, in 2010, Tipton handily defeated his two Democratic challengers in 2012 and 2014, former House Minority Leader Sal Pace, and former state Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo, respectively.
But this year is different, Schwartz said.
Not only is it a presidential year, but one that has a controversial Republican at the top of the ticket. Schwartz said it is problematic for down-ticket Republicans to support Donald Trump as Tipton does.
“Tipton’s clearly aligned himself with Trump,” she said. “If you want someone that will stand up for a civil society, civil discourse that believes in the future of this country and the future of the 3rd CD, those are not the things that Donald Trump will stand up for, or Scott Tipton. It is a deterioration of our culture and our society.”
As a result, she’s getting a lot of support around the expansive district, which stretches from Craig to Durango to Pueblo.
Schwartz, a two-term member of the Colorado Senate whose district included Delta County, raised more than $350,000 since entering the race in early April, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission last month.
Schwartz said that since then, she’s more than doubled those contributions.
While Tipton has raised about $445,000 since January, he’s only pulled in about $185,000 since April, according to his pre-primary FEC report. Still, he has about $762,000 in cash on hand.
Schwartz, who also served six years as the 3rd Congressional District representative on the University of Colorado Board of Regents, touts her work in the Colorado Legislature as reasons why voters should elect her to Congress.
While there, she championed such things as increasing broadband in rural parts of the state, Western Slope water rights, agricultural tourism and renewable energy.
Michael Fortney, spokesman for Tipton’s re-election campaign, however, remembers her tenure differently.
“I agree with Gail,” Fortney said. “I think I misspoke when I mentioned that Gail Schwartz led the war on coal. When, from her Aspen ivory tower, she voted to shut down coal mines, voted to limit our Second Amendment rights and voted to strip thousands of high-paying jobs from rural communities. Gail Schwartz has actually led the war on all of rural Colorado.”