Sal Pace, the Liberal Democrat state Rep from Pueblo who has mounted a campaign against Scott Tipton in CD3, spoke before a group of about 35 Democrats today in Montrose. The meet and greet sponsored by Pace's campaign took place at the RnR Sports Bar in downtown Montrose. Many in attendance traveled from as far away as Telluride to see the Democrat candidate. Pace spoke for about 20 minutes refusing to call his opponent by his name. Pace referred to Scott Tipton, the Republican incumbent in the CD3 House of Representatives seat, as “the incumbent,” or “my opponent.” But in a Harry Potteresque avoidance of an apparently hated name, Pace avoided a single reference to Scott Tipton's given moniker.
Pace referred to his campaign as “moving forward with common sense,” which is not terribly creative given Tipton's motto of “Common Sense for Colorado,” which he used in the 2010 race against then incumbent John Salazar. Pace indicated that he felt optimistic about his chances for victory in November and cited a poll funded by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's “Red State to Blue State” effort which he said shows that 54% of those questioned were against the reelection of “the incumbent” in 2012.
Without reference to specifics about Tipton's record, Pace did say that “his opponent has thrown his lot in with the most extreme fringes of our country.” This was in reference to Scott Tipton's opposition to the payroll tax cut which is, in actuality, a raid on the Social Security fund. One can only speculate to which “extreme fringes” Pace was otherwise referring since Scott Tipton has been called a “Tea Party Freshman,” having been elected by a majority of voters in his District in 2010. Pace went on to characterize efforts by his opponent in the House of Representatives to rein in spending and give economic relief to job creators as, “legislation to cut taxes for his rich friends and wealthy contributors.”
Pace repeatedly talked about “focusing on solving problems, not ideology,” but gave no specific solutions to the pressing employment problems, and crushing regulations that are now effecting Western Colorado. The only idea he offered as a solution to the employment problem in CD3 was “renewable energy,” and a reference to a wind turbine plant in his hometown of Pueblo. Not once, when asked about what he would do about Western Colorado's bleak employment outlook did he mention mining, natural gas, oil shale, or any of the other mineral or fossil fuel industries that are so critical to this end of the state. Pace, a political leader in a state which has amazing energy potential, focused upon non-specific renewables, and failed completely to mention the vast reserves of earth-bound energy beneath the feet of the people in attendance in Montrose.
Colorado's 3rd Congressional district race is certainly one to watch. Western Colorado is highly diverse, with towns like Telluride which are overwhelming Liberal, and those like Grand Junction which are largely Conservative. Sal Pace may appeal to those who like to hear platitudes about “renewable energy” but the reality is that the energy sector, governmental regulation, education, and high unemployment will not be solved by platitudes, but by hard decisions by people who are willing to take “extreme” measures such as cutting taxes, slashing regulations on small businesses, confronting the environmentalist lobbies, and reigning in the federal spending that is hurting the entire nation.