Salazar vs. Tipton a rematch of 2006 battle

The matchup between U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., and Republican challenger Scott Tipton isn’t the only rematch on the congressional card this general election. At least two other seats in the House of Representatives are the focus of rematch battles.

Salazar vanquished Tipton in 2006, Salazar’s first bid for re-election, and Tipton sat out the 2008 election in which Salazar cruised to a third victory.

This time, Tipton is banking on a different environment favoring him as Salazar sets out for a fourth term. This time around, Tipton can count on help from outside the 3rd Congressional District, the first in the form of political consultant Dick Morris, a onetime adviser to President Clinton. Morris is to speak on Tipton’s behalf Tuesday in Grand Junction.

Former Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin said it was important for Republicans to retake the 3rd Congressional District, but Palin picked Tipton’s GOP opponent, Bob McConnell, to do it.

An outside conservative organization, Washington, D.C.-based Liberty Central, said Tipton poses a “viable challenge” in one of 20 targeted House races.

The odds, though, likely remain stacked against Tipton, said John Straayer, professor of political science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

“My sense is that rematches do not go well for the loser the first time,” Straayer said Wednesday, “unless some very dramatic factors intervene.”

Whether there is “enough of a change in sentiment that it could make a difference” remains to be been seen, Straayer said.

Realclearpolitics.com, a political website that tracks and compiles polling data, lists the 3rd Congressional District as leaning toward Salazar, despite Tipton’s slight GOP-tilted registration advantage in the district that encompasses most of the Western Slope and much of southern Colorado.

In a statement he issued after Tipton defeated Bob McConnell in the Republican primary Tuesday, Salazar congratulated Tipton and alluded to the rematch.

“I look forward to facing Scott for the second time in a campaign about the real issues facing us here in Colorado, not just the false attacks and misleading talking points that have dominated the national dialog these past few months,” Salazar said in the statement.

In facing an old foe, Salazar joins Democrat Mark Schauer in Michigan, who is being challenged this year by Republican Tim Walberg. Walberg lost to Schauer in 2008.

Former Republican Rep. Steve Chabot is running to reclaim the seat in Ohio that he held for 14 years until Democrat Steve Driehaus unseated him in 2008.


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