Tipton foes come out swinging

Even before anyone knows the shape of the 3rd Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo, is looking at a two-pronged attack from Democrats and an unaffiliated candidate.

Tipton, a Cortez pottery-shop owner, last year knocked off incumbent John Salazar, a Manassa Democrat who now is the state’s agriculture commissioner.

State Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, announced his bid to unseat Tipton, and another Pueblo-area resident, Tisha Casida, is aiming at Tipton during her candidacy-announcement tour.

Buttressing the dual attacks is the Democrats’ House Majority Political Action Committee, which the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reports has targeted eight GOP representatives, including Tipton, for ouster.

Democrats need to capture 25 seats from Republicans to regain control of the House.

Tipton said in a statement he has been making tough decisions in Congress, and “if I ruffle a few feathers by fighting to get Americans back to work and fighting for our kids’ future, then so be it.”

The political action committee’s television ad, according to Roll Call, looks like a game show in which the host criticizes Tipton’s vote on the House budget, which it says “includes another trillion dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy.”

Pace got off scot-free in Casida’s announcement of a fundraiser to take place July 11 in Pueblo.

Casida lashed at Tipton, pointing to his hiring of a firm that did business with a company run by Tipton’s nephew, his investments in oil and natural gas stocks, being listed as the freshman with the highest-paid staff in the House, and for having assets worth at least $2.2 million.

“Tipton is not the people’s candidate and not anyone who the Tea Party should support in the 2012 election,” Casida said in a statement. “Besides having unethical ties, he has no real sense of how the average American is hurting right now and cannot represent us in Congress — he is just as out of touch as most other lawmakers in D.C.”

Colorado Democratic Party spokesman Matt Inzeo sounded similar themes Wednesday.

“We’ve seen a lot of issues pop up in a short time” in connection with Tipton, Inzeo said. “We’re not the only folks who have noticed what’s going on the West Slope.”

Democrats will focus criticism of Tipton on his vote for the budget crafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Inzeo said.

Democrats credited opposition to the Ryan plan for success in a special election in New York last month. Democrat Kathy Hochul prevailed in a three-way contest there.

Tipton maintained in his statement that “I’ve done what the people of the 3rd District sent me to Washington to do, challenge the tax-and-spend status quo and aggressively confront the source of our country’s economic problems — problems that have cost millions of jobs and resulted in 45 million Americans relying on food stamps.”

Tipton, the only candidate who has filed campaign-finance reports with the Federal Elections Commission, had $166,000 in cash on hand at the end of March.

All announced candidates will have to file second-quarter campaign-finance reports in July.


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