GOP delegates split on House seat candidates

LOVELAND — Third Congressional District Republicans split on their two candidates, leaving Scott Tipton and Bob McConnell to campaign until August for the nomination.

Tipton, a Cortez legislator who was defeated in 2006 for the congressional seat, outpolled McConnell, of Steamboat Springs, who is making his first bid for Congress, 54.5 percent to 45.5 percent in the district assembly in the Embassy Suites Convention Center.

“I think it’s great,” Tipton said of the pending primary election. We live in a representative republic and maybe we’ve suffered too long with the lack” of competitive party races.

An exuberant McConnell, who brought many of the 617 delegates to their feet declaring, “I join you as being an American who is angry” and describing the ruling Democratic party as wanting a “socialist utopia.”

Both candidates entered the assembly with support from tea-party-related organizations, and McConnell from the Southern Colorado Tea Party.

“I don’t think the tea party had anything to do with” McConnell’s strong showing, said Richard Schoenradt of Grand Junction, a Tipton delegate, attributing the result largely to McConnell’s closing speech.

McConnell’s pitch as an outsider resonated with many delegates.

“I don’t want a political insider,” said Rich Bacher, a McConnell delegate.

“I’m expecting Tipton to prevail in this thing, but I don’t know,” said former Mesa County Commissioner Jim Baughman, a Tipton delegate.

McConnell called for elimination of the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Reserve, and a return to the gold standard, the latter of which caused may Tipton delegates to shake their heads.

“Do we want to be Greece?” McConnell said to shouts of “No!”

Tipton, nominated by his daughter Liesl Ross, attacked U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., as “being in lockstep with Barack Obama and (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi.”

Tipton called for “capitalist solutions” to the nation’s health care woes.

Too many Republicans go to Washington and end up voting as “Democrat lite,” Tipton said. “This is our time, this is our election. You’re looking at the guy who can win this election.”

McConnell acknowledged he entered the assembly as an underdog but said he was told afterward by delegates who had planned to vote for Tipton that his speech got their vote.

McConnell said he was thrilled, but not surprised with the outcome of the vote, calling it humbling.


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