Top Story #8: Tea party movement turns tide for Republicans

The tea party movement led a Republican resurgence that saw a Republican capture the 3rd Congressional District.

The trend, however, fell short of what early on portended serious runs at statewide offices by candidates with Grand Junction ties.

Scott Tipton, a Cortez Republican who was swamped in 2006 in his first run for Congress, exacted a measure of revenge in 2010 when he bested U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo. It was Salazar who had defeated Tipton previously.

Tipton began the political season as just one Western Slope candidate with a good chance to capture a statewide seat.

Former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, a Republican from Grand Junction, opened 2010 as a strong contender for the GOP nomination for governor.

Former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, a Grand Junction native, likewise was considered a shoo-in for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

McInnis and Norton, however, lost their primary bids against Evergreen businessman Dan Maes and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, respectively.

Both of those Republicans went on to lose in the general election to Democrats John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet.

Tipton defeated Bob McConnell of Steamboat Springs in the GOP primary with both claiming conservative and tea party backing. Tipton then rode tea party enthusiasm to a five-point win in November.

Tipton now is the highest-ranking elected official from western Colorado.

Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, a Grand Junction resident, lost his bid to keep the job against Denver Republican Scott Gessler.


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