Barack Obama is so unpopular in Colorado’s conservative 3rd Congressional District that Democratic challenger Sal Pace won’t even utter his name. If there ever was an anecdote that summed up Pace’s challenge of running with Obama on the ticket, his refusal to name his preference in the Presidential race at the Club 20 debate this weekend is it.

Per The Colorado Observer‘s Leslie Jorgensen:

Pace attempted to paint himself as the representative who could work across both party aisles in Congress – and portray Tipton as a rigid Republican who can’t work toward compromises.

…Tipton countered that Pace has been a partisan Democrat throughout his four years in the state House – and challenged the Pueblo Democrat to name his preferred presidential candidate. Pace’s response was awkward – if not illusive.

“I think it’s obvious,” said Pace. “You’re voting for the Republican and I’m voting for the Democrat.”

Though Pace wouldn’t utter the name, President Barack Obama, Tipton didn’t couch his choice for president.

“I’m voting for Mitt Romney,” declared Tipton.

As we’ve warned since Pace got in the race, running as a Democrat in a Congressional District where Obama is likely to lose by double digits was never going to be easy. Pace was always going to be challenged to find distance from Obama if he wanted a chance in hell of winning. Refusing to say Obama’s name wasn’t exactly what we had in mind, though.

It’s almost as bad as trying to claim Pace wasn’t at the Obama Pueblo event because he “wasn’t invited.”