In the Summer of 2010 Bob McConnell, a Republican (Steamboat Springs) ran in the GOP primary against Scott Tipton (Cortez) and lost. Bob McConnell had all the trappings of a good Republican, but he lost fair and square, mostly because Scott Tipton worked tirelessly, traversing one of the largest and most remote congressional districts in the United States, which encompasses some 54,000 square miles. Tipton met with folks in every town, city, and stopover in the western third of Colorado. Not only did Tipton outwork his primary opponent, he was also the more traditional conservative candidate and was favored because of that. Bob McConnell's politics were more Libertarian than conservative. Bob McConnell cast himself as the Tea Party candidate, but even with an endorsement from Sarah Palin and some Veteran's groups, Bob McConnell failed to garner Republican momentum. McConnell lost in the District 3 GOP primary to Tipton, 44 to 56%.
The rejection of McConnell was a rejection by the majority of voters in the Tea Party, as well as the traditional GOP. Shortly after GOP voters in CD3 spurned McConnell, he quit the Republican party and became unaffiliated. His twitter feed of June 27, 2010 shows that he blamed the Republicans and their lack of “balls” for his defeat. On August 3, 2012, also on his twitter feed, McConnell announced his “Democrats for McConnell initiative.” Tipton went on to trounce incumbent Democrat, John Salazar, and become the U.S. Congressman for Colorado's District 3.
Early in 2011 Bob McConnell’s Facebook page became a veritable bulletin board of allegations against Scott Tipton, beginning with posts of “ethical violations” by Tipton. On March 1, 2011 in a story focusing on Colorado legislators, Bob McConnell’s dissatisfaction with Scott Tipton was chronicled by Allison Sherry:
Speaking of being conservative, Rep. Scott Tipton’s former primary opponent Bob McConnell is talking a little smack about the Republican Congressman.
McConnell said that Tipton ranked low in a Heritage Foundation report ranking Republicans in their efficacy in cutting spending.
“Time to hold feet to the fire my friends,” McConnell wrote. “Do not tolerate politicians who are already waffling on “promises.” Watch them like hawks, and act accordingly.”
A young and ambitious woman, who is also a friend of Bob McConnell's and a resident of Steamboat Springs, Tisha Casida, was also apparently dissatisfied with Scott Tipton and began grumbling about his failures on her website–which has since been scrubbed–on January 4, 2011. It is hard to discern what teed her off about Tipton, since she was not an acquaintance of his, and as of January 4, 2011, Scott Tipton had not been sworn into office as a United States Congressman. But early in 2011, the buzz about Tisha Casida running as an Independent against Scott Tipton in Colorado's Congressional District 3 began. Casida formed an exploratory committee and announced her candidacy in May of 2011, then formally filed the paperwork for her candidacy in the Fall. Evidence that she sympathized with McConnell surfaced in an interview she did for the Independent Voter Network in December of 2011, when she said;
Tisha Casida: The Tea Party really supported Bob McConnell. Tipton was just the next-in-line establishment pick. The [Republican] Party got him in there. He adopted a lot of McConnell’s talking points but if you look at how he’s voted, he’s not a small government Republican; he’s a big government Republican. But yes, we do think there’s a lot of independent sentiment in the district that we can rally to win: the Tea Party, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and all voters that feel disenfranchised.
IVN: Tell us a little more about that. Why did you choose to run as an Independent?
Tisha Casida: Because of what happened to McConnell. I know the Republican Party would not have me as a candidate. I’ve never been embraced by the Republican Party as a young female activist.
In a videotaped November 14, 2011 interview which she gave to columnist Kelly Sloan of Grand Junction's Free Press, Casida referred to Bob McConnell as, “my dear friend and mentor.” Furthermore, Casida's campaign team held a retreat at the home of Bob McConnell in September of 2011, about which McConnell remarked, “I’m proud to have hosted their first organizational meeting”. The McConnell-Casida connection cannot be dismissed. One can only speculate whether there is a vendetta against Tipton on the part of McConnell, or whether he may want to clear the D3 seat of Tipton because he has ambitions for a run in 2012. One thing is sure; that Casida's third-party run has the potential to tip the scales to Sal Pace, the Liberal Democrat.
In the November 14, 2011 interview in Grand Junction, which can be found on YouTube, Kelly Sloan asked Tisha Casida if it bothered her that her run would probably draw just enough percentage points off of the Republican candidate to give a victory by the Liberal Democrat. Her response was that it didn't bother her at all, and that the two parties were the same. She asserted that only an Independent candidate like herself could really solve the current problems in America.
Tisha Casida appears to be a bright candidate with a reasonably successful business history under her belt. Does she really believe that she could win against an incumbent as a third-party candidate, in a district which has been well represented by said incumbent? Probably not. One has only to do the math to understand that Tisha Casida's run in the D3 congressional race means almost certain victory for the Liberal Democrat. It is worth exploring the relationship between the Bob McConnell and Tisha Casida. The timing of her candidacy, and her close relationship to Bob McConnell is highly suspect. Is Tisha Casida a convenient puppet being used by McConnell to derail the incumbent, Scott Tipton?