Democrats line up to take on Rep. Scott Tipton

Faced with the fiasco in Washington, we have to decide what can we do locally to help keep these political critters under control after they’ve spent a few trillion dollars we don’t have. We have to elect the right people.

Since there won’t be any U.S. Senate race in Colorado in 2012, we western Colorado types really just have one horse up for re-election next year: 3rd Congressional Rep. Scott Tipton. So far, despite clunky messaging, Tipton has voted the way people who elected him most likely want. But there are some alternatives on the horizon from the political left.

By left, I don’t mean the center left of the baseball diamond, but more the area where the ball kicks up a cloud of chalk as it hits the foul line. One such lefty is Pueblo state Rep. Sal Pace.

Pace was goaded into the race a little early by national Democrats, who mentioned he was running for the 3rd District before he had formally announced. Pace gathered some notoriety for saying at a union rally he knew where to “put his fist.” And he has proved to be a solid fund raiser.

The last batch of campaign-finance reports shows him raising a respectable $102,000 in the second quarter of this year, compared to Tipton’s $146,000. Tipton has a total of $232,000 for the year.

The Pace campaign hopes that this close fund-raising number will translate into a competitive race for the congressional district because Tipton trails other Colorado congressional incumbents who have year-to-date totals near the $500,000 mark. Unfortunately for Pace, he has a history in the 3rd Congressional district.

As former Congressman John Salazar’s district director, he helped run the congressional office in such a way that his boss — a three-term incumbent who massively outspent an opponent he beat by 25 points four years earlier — lost. So you can see what a firm grasp he has of issues here in western Colorado.

We should be clear: Pace did leave federal government employment in 2008 to go into ... state government employment.

Nevertheless, he may have some competition for being the candidate least in touch with western Colorado in the form of Perry Haney, a Front Range spinal specialist whose Facebook page indicates he is from Grand Junction. The address it lists is 2536 Rimrock Ave., No. 400, which is a UPS store across from the Walmart.

Dr. Haney, a Democrat, shows his business address in Lone Tree, a Denver suburb that I calculate to be about 257 miles from his cramped residence across from Walmart. So the guy is showing some real commitment for his commute.

It also seems he may have received a paycheck in his life that wasn’t signed by a government official, so he has that going for him. The Daily Sentinel reported he has launched a congressional exploratory committee, to which Sal Pace responded: “I welcome anyone who wants to get in.”

It’s unclear if Pace knows that Lone Tree is not in the 3rd District, or, to be fair, if Haney knows it.

Both will probably be able to bring money to the table. Haney will have some of his own and Pace already, according to the Durango Herald, has received $10,000 from the political action committee of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union and $5,000 from the United Steel Workers.

With these choices, it seems pretty simple to stay on the horse we rode into Congress in 2010. The donkeys keep wandering left.

Rick Wagner offers more thoughts on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.


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