Two Republicans seek to replace Udall in Senate

Two Republicans will challenge each other for the right to run against Democrat Mark Udall in his re-election bid for the U.S. Senate.

State Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, announced his intention to seek the GOP nomination for the seat on Monday.

Meanwhile, Sen. Randy Baumgardner, a Hot Sulphur Springs Republican whose district includes Garfield County, plans to do the same on Friday.

While Baumgardner is in the first year as a state senator, he served four years in the Colorado House.

Hill, however, was only elected to the Legislature last year and has served one session so far.

“It’s a wide-open field, but I was just hoping we wouldn’t get this 14 different people running in a primary to tear us all apart so we give (Democrats) the ammunition to win,” Baumgardner said of Hill’s announcement. “But it doesn’t look like we’re smart enough to figure that out yet.”

Baumgardner and Hill aren’t the only names to be floated as possible contenders to Udall, who’s finishing his first six-year term in the U.S. Senate after serving 10 years in the U.S. House. He served one term in the Colorado House before winning that seat.

Others who yet may jump into the fray include Rep. Amy Stephens, a former House majority leader from Monument, and former Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, who lost a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2010 against Democrat Michael Bennet, the state’s other senator.

Still, both men said they were prepared to face a primary next June regardless of who’s in the race.

Both men said they were running because they believe problems in Congress need to be addressed more than issues in the statehouse.

“Denver is broken largely because D.C. is broken,” Hill said. “So much of the regulations and the rules coming down from D.C. on education, health care, transportation really limit our ability to address the unique problems that we face. It seems, unfortunately, very few people are willing to stand up and talk about the innovative ideas we actually need to get us moving again and fix a broken system.”

Baumgardner agreed, saying Udall spends more time pushing a D.C. agenda than he does a Colorado one.

“We need someone that is connected to the land and connected to the people of the state of Colorado that would be able to represent them better than someone that’s worth lots of money,” Baumgardner said.

Udall spokesman Mike Saccone said the senator is more focused on doing his job right now than worrying about who will face him next year.

Based on his last campaign finance report released last spring, Udall has a warchest of more than $2.5 million.


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