Tipton faces primary challenge in 3rd District race

Kelly Sloan
Kelly Sloan

Kelly Sloan, The Business Times

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton easily won the vote at the Republican assembly for the 3rd Congressional District, but faces a primary challenger in Palisade peach farmer David Cox.

Tipton won 66.2 percent of the vote at the April 11 assembly at the Omni Interlocken Hotel in Broomfield. But with 33.8 percent of the vote, Cox qualified for the ballot in the June 24 primary election. A candidate must receive at least 30 percent of the assembly vote to make the primary ballot. If a candidate fails to receive 30 percent but has more than 10 percent, that candidate has the option to petition to get on the ballot.

The winner of the Republican primary between Tipton and Cox will face Democrat Abel Tapio, a former state senator and director of the Colorado Lottery, in the general election.

In his speech at the assembly, Tipton recounted his conservative views as well as what he considers his accomplishments while in Congress, including a bill to ease federal restrictions on hydropower projects that became law last year. Measures to require development of a national energy plan, give local governments more control over forest management and prohibit the federal government from requiring water rights to be turned over as a condition of permit approval all have passed the House and await Senate action. Tipton said more could be accomplished if Republicans could wrest control of the Senate away from Democrats.

In his speech, Cox told the assembly about his reverence for the Constitution, his opposition to the Federal Reserve monetary system, the need to withdraw the U.S. military from around the world and his questions about the 9-11 terrorist attacks. He referred to the U.S. government as a “criminal organization.”

Cox was unsuccessful in a 2010 campaign for the District 54 seat in the Colorado House of Representatives.

Asked after the assembly what he planned to bring to the table for the business community, Cox said, “What is most important for business is the sanctity of contract, and the most important contract we can uphold is the U.S. Constitution.” He said the Constitution “is in total disarray, as our representatives violate it with total impunity.”

Addressing energy issues, Cox said the energy industry in Colorado depends on a reliable and consistent set of rules, adding “that can’t be done as long as the federal government is in control.” He said a critical part of his energy policy would be to “return state lands to state control” saying that “Tipton has refused to return land to the state level.” He also said that he would run measures “to uphold the Northwest Ordinances of 1784 and 1787” and  “dispose of public lands to the states.”

Tipton said that in meeting with small business leaders, two of the most important issues for small businesses are regulations and costs associated with the new federal health care law.

“The administration can keep delaying it, but those costs are still coming,” Tipton said, adding that the Affordable Care Act has redefined full-time work at 30 hours a week and inhibited the ability of small businesses to create jobs.

“The problem with our liberal friends is they view government as the solution for everything, but someone has to pay for it,” Tipton said. “That often ends up being small businesses and job creators.”

Tipton said that he intends to continue to run jobs bills and help the private sector by “decreasing redundancies and regulations, and carrying a message to the bureaucracy in D.C.”

Concerning federal lands, Tipton said he would continue to fight against efforts to defund the Payments in Lieu of Tax (PILT) program and acknowledge the rural complexities involved in the public lands issue. “We need to ask if the states are prepared (to manage that much land),” he said, adding that it’s “better to deal with it in a business fashion.”

Meanwhile, Barbara Ann Smith came in slightly ahead of incumbent Marcia Neal in voting for the State Board of Education candidate from the 3rd Congressional District, putting both Grand Junction women on the primary ballot. Smith has campaigned largely in opposition to so-called “common core” educational standards. Neal has focused her time on the board to champion school choice and energy development on public lands as a source of funding.

At the Republican state convention at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the race for governor became a littler clearer with Mike Kopp, a former State Senate minority leader, winning the most votes to secure a place on the ballot along with Secretary of State Scott Gessler. The two men will join former Congressmen Bob Beauprez and Tom Tancredo on the primary ballot.

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner defeated his two remaining GOP opponents to become the party’s sole nominee in the race against U.S. Sen. Mark Udall.