GOP’s Tipton called a contender; rival in congressional race scoffs

McConnell: Panel's ranking confirms legislator as politician

Scott Tipton

Bob McConnell

Scott Tipton’s recognition as a “contender” by the National Republican Congressional Committee isn’t sitting well with the other Republican who wants to represent Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.

Tipton, a state legislator from Cortez, was dubbed a contender on the basis of the condition of his campaign, spokeswoman Jennifer Burgos said. That’s a measure of how well his fundraising effort is going, as well as his campaign organization and other factors, Burgos said.

“It is by no means an endorsement of any candidate,” Burgos said.

McConnell could have signed up for the party’s “young gun” program, as well, Burgos said.

Not on your life, McConnell said.

“Becoming involved with the NRCC confirms Scott is a politician,” McConnell said in a statement. “Frankly, after decades in the party system, that’s what he is despite the fact that lately he’s been implying that he is new to politics.”

Tipton was defeated in 2006 by Democrat John Salazar, who is seeking his fourth term representing the district, which includes most of the Western Slope.

McConnell said he strongly disagrees with the way the GOP committee raises money, and that the practice of giving large donors direct access to high-level decision makers would boomerang.

“This is ultimately going to hurt the Republican Party, just as (President) Clinton renting the Lincoln Bedroom hurt the Dems,” McConnell said.

McConnell said he hopes to debate Tipton before the 3rd District assembly next month in Loveland.

Tipton’s campaign declined to comment directly on McConnell’s criticism or the debate request, but it said the Tipton campaign was resonating with voters.

“Scott’s name ID is extremely high, and we have polling that shows Scott’s already in a dead heat with Salazar,” the campaign said. “We could not be in a better place than where we are right now.”

Salazar leads Tipton in fundraising, $1 million to $190,000 in cash on hand. Salazar during the first quarter of 2010 raised $305,000 to Tipton’s $140,000.

McConnell has $18,000 in cash on hand after raising $28,000 in the first quarter.


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