Back in 2018, former Eagle and Routt County state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush had come as close as anyone to toppling five-term Congressman Scott Tipton, losing to him by about 8 percentage points. It’s not surprising that she’ll get another shot at the seat in November.
What is stunning is that Steamboat Democrat Mitsch Bush on Nov. 3 won’t face Tipton, the Cortez Republican who swept in on a Tea Party wave in 2010.
“Our general election opponent ISN’T Scott Tipton,” the Mitsch Bush campaign wrote in an email blast to supporters on Wednesday, the day after her primary election defeat of newcomer James Iacino. “Instead, it’s a far-right extremist who does not represent the people of CD-3. After her upset win in the GOP primary last night, our race is going to have national attention, and it was even changed from ‘Likely R’ to ‘Leans R’ by Crystal Ball.”
That so-called “far-right extremist” would be Lauren Boebert, the gun-toting proprietor of Shooters Grill in Rifle who hopes to ride in on a Freedom Caucus (and maybe even QAnon) wave in 2020. Boebert lost now reliably blue Eagle County 1,176 votes to 1,635 for Tipton but was carried by GOP voters in other parts of the sprawling 29-county 3rd Congressional District.
Eagle County, by the way, is the only county split between CD3 (western two-thirds) and CD2 (eastern third), where Democrat Joe Neguse did not face a primary challenger.
In other local election news, Heidi McCollum, an Eagle Valley High School alum and seven-year DA’s office veteran, handily beat challenger Braden Angel to essentially claim the District Attorney’s race in the 5th Judicial District (Eagle, Summit, Lake and Clear Creek counties). There is no Republican candidate in the Nov. 3 general election.
Angel had the blessing of the county’s only elected Republican, Sheriff James van Beek.
And statewide, former Democratic Denver mayor and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper rather easily dispatched former Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff to win the right to challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner on Nov. 3. Gardner is widely considered one of the most endangered incumbent senators in November,
The story of the primary, however, has to be Boebert’s takedown of Tipton, who, like Gardner, doggedly avoided the media during his time in office. I wrote about that tactic back in 2018 in a piece about diminished political coverage in the local news – a situation made even worse now by the COVID-19 pandemic and its crushing effect on newspaper revenues.
“…I’ve found that politicians have adjusted to the new normal of dramatically reduced coverage by in some cases assiduously dodging what little political press there is these days,” I wrote at the time. “Some members of Congress will never do a one-on-one phone interview with a reporter. You have to catch them at an event or join a pre-scripted conference call.
“That’s the case with my own U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes the western two-thirds of Eagle County. He’s been in office since 2010 and I’ve only been able to ask him direct questions once or twice on conference calls, while his Democratic opponent, former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, has always been very accessible.”
Ditto Boebert, who happily called me back for a story on health care for Colorado Politics and also spoke at length on a variety of other topics for RealVail.com. Tipton’s campaign spokesman, always reliable for some sort of snarky non-answer, gave me squat for those stories, never once offering to make his client available by phone.
That might be the message from this election: Even though CD3 is a largely conservative district, people demand some sort of accountability from their elected officials these days – and more than just occasional appearances in friendly settings.
It will be very interesting now to see if Boebert is part of some under-reported pro-President Donald Trump sentiment in the country, ala 2016, or part of a wide-reaching backlash against all things Trump – like his Colorado re-election co-chair Tipton. Certainly Trump’s tweet of support for Tipton this week did nothing to help the Cortez businessman in the primary.
For more local election results, here’s a press release from Eagle County:
June 30, 2020 – 11 p.m. – The final round of unofficial results for the June 30 primary election is now available online for Eagle County at: https://results.enr.clarityelections.com/CO/Eagle/103922/web.255599/#/summary?v=247458%2F
Statewide results can be found at: https://results.enr.clarityelections.com/CO/103901/web.255599/#/summary
Results are also being posted on Twitter, follow the Eagle County Clerk & Recorder at www.twitter.com/ECClerk.
This is the last update of the night. Official election results will be available following the canvass process.