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Mitsch Bush, Hanlon weigh in as Kennedy drops out of CD3 primary race

December 7, 2017, 4:46 pm

And then there were two.

Chris Kennedy

Chris Kennedy

Grand Junction City Councilor Chris Kennedy, a former U.S. Marine and telecom worker, dropped out of the Democratic primary race to take on incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton Wednesday, citing the health issues of his mother.

That leaves Glenwood Springs municipal and water attorney Karl Hanlon, a Carbondale rancher who just jumped into the race last week, and former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, a former Routt County commissioner from Steamboat Springs.

Kennedy, considered a strong candidate in the sprawling district’s second largest – and by far most conservative – city, posted his decision on Facebook Wednesday:

Today I announced my withdrawal from the race for CD3. Family health issues that will require my time and attention over the next days and months make this necessary at this time. To all those who have supported me during this process I am humbled by your generosity and selflessness and friendship. I could not in good conscious continue this campaign knowing that I would not be able to devote 100% of my time and energy over the days and months ahead.

“You deserve no less than that from your next representative in Congress. To the thousands we have met over the course of this campaign know that your voices are heard, and I will continue to advocate for your issues and concerns. The fight is not over. We will prevail.”

State Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs.

Former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs.

Mitsch Bush, who jumped into the race last spring and recently resigned her state house seat, offered her best wishes to Kennedy.

“I am sorry to hear about Chris Kennedy’s mother’s serious health issues,” Mitsch Bush told RealVail.com. “I wish him and his family the very best.”

Mitsch Bush also said she’s reached out to Hanlon to wish him well in the primary race.

“On Saturday, I called Karl to welcome him into the race for CD3. We had a nice talk,” Mitsch Bush said. “We agreed that we both look forward to good, civil discussions and debates that inform our voters in CD3.”

Karl Hanlon

Karl Hanlon

Hanlon, too, had good thoughts for Kennedy.

“I appreciate that Chris was in the race and had a lot of great ideas,” Hanlon told RealVail.com. “I talked to him last week, and I knew that he was facing some family issues that might impact his ability to stay in the race, so I wish him the best on those issues because I know those are tough.”

He added he thinks it will be a tough but fair primary taking on Mitsch Bush.

“My hope is that we don’t [beat each other up too much] and that we can really stick to the issues and focus on who can really win the district back,” Hanlon said. “That’s going to be the conversation with the voters. The goal is to get the right person in the seat, and that’s going to have to be the conversation at both the primary and general election level.”

No Democrat has held the Third Congressional District since three-term, blue-dog moderate rancher John Salazar, who was taken out by Tipton in the tea party wave of 2010. Tipton’s last three Democratic challengers in the majority GOP district, which includes most of the Western Slope and a swatch of southern Colorado around Pueblo, lost by 20, 12 and 14 points.

But both Mitsch Bush and Hanlon think Tipton is vulnerable after voting in favor of unpopular House versions of both healthcare and tax reform.

“R leaders tax giveaway to wealthiest creates deficit. Then pay 4 by cutting Medicaid, Medicare & Social Security. @RepTipton : vote no!” Mitsch Bush tweeted Thursday as the House works to conference and pass a new tax bill that conforms to the recently passed – and very different — Senate version. She was referring to Speaker Paul Ryan’s call for entitlement reform in 2018.

Hanlon blasted the House tax bill on two key points for CD3.

“If you look at the House version of the bill, it eliminated the renewable energy credit, which has a direct negative impact on Pueblo [for wind energy manufacturing],” Hanlon said. “His votes on that same tax plan really have a negative impact on agriculture, eliminating carried back losses, making it easy to deduct an old tractor but not a new one.

“So small farmers and ranchers that are always going to be buying used equipment, that change directly affects them.”

Tipton campaign manager Michael Fortney didn’t want to weigh in just yet on the Democrats lining up to challenge Tipton, or their specific barbs about the congressman’s record.

“We officially decline to comment and were nonplussed by all of these developments,” Fortney told RealVail.com.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

One Response to Mitsch Bush, Hanlon weigh in as Kennedy drops out of CD3 primary race

  1. Beverly Andrus Reply

    March 28, 2018 at 11:19 am

    It will be good to see Karl Hanlon in Jackson County on April 7. We hope that some of the 100 registered Democrats show up to greet him when he stops by for about an hour on his way to someplace else on his Topple Tipton tour. I hope that he is prepared for a county with more than 800 registered Republicans. His opponent, Scott Tipton, visited Walden in Sept 2012 or 2013 and talked with 15 people who showed up at The Moose Creek Café. Diane Mitsch-Bush lives in an adjacent county, about 62 miles away. She has not yet made it over Rabbit Ears pass for a visit. Hanlon’s sister and a campaign worker put in an appearance at Jackson County Democrats Caucus on March 6. We look forward to his visit on April 7. That is the same day at the 9Health Fair at North Park High School when there will be more people in town than usual, but the crowd will be thinned out by the time of Hanlon’s expected arrival at 3 pm. I hope he will be here earlier in the day, and stay longer than 1 hour. We will see if he puts a notice in our local paper, The Jackson County Star. Deadline for the 4/5 weekly issue is 4pm 4/2.

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