Sal "The Fist" Pace is in. The career political staffer announced this morning via email that he was officially entering the race for the 3rd Congressional District in a fundraising email directing recipients to his new campaign website. He doesn't hesitate to engage in heavy amounts of irony, beginning his email attacking current Congressman Scott Tipton and then pivoting, sentences later, decrying partisanship and the vilification of political enemies.

You have to love an attack on partisanship and the current state of politics coming from someone who has spent their ENTIRE career engaged in political hackery, from being John Salazar's partisan protege to a State Representative who threatens to use "his fists" against those opposed to the agenda of union bosses. In fact, Pace is basically a mini-me John Salazar — a frumpier, less experienced and angrier John Salazar — Salazar 2.0, even.

John Salazar 2.0 — a full-time partisan hack from the day he graduated college. First he answered phones for John Salazar's campaign, then he worked for John Salazar's congressional office, and then bolted to the Legislature to represent John Salazar's political stronghold, Pueblo. Now John Salazar 2.0 wants to take back John Salazar's seat, promising a return to John Salazar-tongue wagging (see statements about Paul Ryan), John Salazar-pork barreling (see Roaring Fork free wifi), and John Salazar-style school yard taunting (see comments about Pinon Canyon). 

The problem with Salazar 2.0 is that Pace is no John Salazar. He has no deep family roots in the district, nor the political sense that the Salazars used to have. He, instead, will rely on his background in partisan hackery to decry….partisan hackery. 

As Lynn Bartels points out in her post covering Pace's announcement, there is a large lingering question surrounding the entire race — will the 3rd CD even be competitive? Pace's fellow Democrats decided to slice and dice large sections of the current 3rd CD in order to benefit Democrats not named Sal Pace who plan on running for Congress. In another sweet bit of irony, Pace's ability to win the seat will be partially predicated on Republican ideas for redistricting being accepted by the courts. 

Even if Pace lucks out and the courts back the Republican redistricting map, he'll still have to explain to the district while he sat by silently while his party put the screws to the West Slope and ranchers living in the proposed Pinon Canon expansion area. Those Democrat drawn maps at one point put Grand Junction in with Boulder. In fact, Dem redistricting Chairman Rollie Heath was handing out those Boulder/Grand Junction maps at a townhall in Boulder after Democrats filed their suit in court. So Pace might want to focus on fighting his own party before he takes his fight to Tipton.

And speaking of Pinon Canyon, Congressman Tipton just got the funding ban for Pinon expansion restored, while Pace's Democrats proposed putting the expansion area into a Congressional district with military-heavy El Paso County, effectively killing the voice of ranchers in Southeast Colorado in Washington, DC. That inconvenient truth only adds a layer of frosting to the ironical cake Pace feeds his email recipients in his announcement. 

It's an odd way to begin a campaign — hitting your opponent for something that has defined your career (partisanship), hoping your opponent's party's map gets chosen in redistricting so you have an electoral shot, and slamming your opponent on an issue (Pinon Canyon) that they have been a leader for while your party has done their darnedest to screw.

Pace's lack of legislative accomplishments makes it hard to run on his record, so he wasn't left with much choice. But we still find it odd. 

(see the full announcement email after the jump)

Dear Supporter,

I wanted you to be among the first to know: just this morning, I proudly and officially began my run for US Congress from Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.

It’s a big step for me and my young family, one I don’t take lightly.

But I’ve now seen how Scott Tipton votes back inside that Beltway.  He voted – and strongly defends – the Ryan plan ending Medicare as we know it.  He won’t support projects like the Roaring Fork’s Regional Transportation Authority that will help solve some of the challenges faced by our local communities.  He’s not paying enough attention to issues like Pinon Canyon or Fort Lewis’ Native American tuition waiver.

Can I count on you to join me in this campaign?

I’ve called the 3rd District home my entire adult life, and have served the people here as a state representative, college instructor and community volunteer.

After thinking about the way politics is run in Washington, I get worried about the society we will leave for our children.  The American dream is the belief that each generation can be more successful than the last.  That will disappear if we don’t start doing things differently as a country. When I think of my boys’ future, I know that to get there, we need a new approach to governing.   We will not accomplish anything if both sides dig in their heels, refuse to negotiate and vilify the other side of the aisle.

It’s an approach I’ve taken in the Statehouse – govern with common sense, based on what we value in Colorado: independence, a commitment to community, optimism about the future.

I will wage a vigorous campaign, one that focuses on jobs in the District, on controlling the nation’s unsustainable debt, on protecting our rural water, on opportunity for our kids, and on living up to our commitments to our seniors with Medicare and our veterans.  I am proud of my track record in the Colorado State House fighting for good paying jobs, making our government more transparent and accountable, and passing legislation to protect our rural way of life.

To reach voters in the district – one of the biggest in the country – I need the help of friends and supporters like you.

I would be honored if you would consider making a $50 contribution to help our campaign hit the ground running.  Please visit my website and donate $50 today.



Sal Pace

Pace for Colorado