Democrat Sal Pace is off to a fast start in his bid to unseat freshman Republican Rep. Scott Tipton in CD-3. As The Pueblo Chieftain reports:
Colorado House Minority Leader Sal Pace raised $100,000 during the first 30 days of his candidacy to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, Pace’s campaign announced Friday.
Pace also said he plans to stay in his minority leadership role in the House next legislative session despite the target that House Republicans likely will place on him as a congressional challenger to a member of their party…
…If Pace were to sustain the fundraising rate he enjoyed during the first month of his campaign – a tall order – he would amass a war chest of $1.8 million by the November 2012 general election. That would constitute about 50 percent more than the $1.2 million Tipton collected by Election Day last November when he unseated incumbent Democrat John Salazar.
For comparison’s sake, Tipton raised $176,064 in the first quarter of this year (the Q2 reporting period ended on June 30, but reports won’t show up online until the middle of July). Tipton’s Q1 report showed his campaign with a total of $166,852 cash on hand, but with $136,459 in debts still owed by his committee.
The Chieftain also notes that Colorado’s CD-3 has not been identified by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) as a Top 10 seat to protect, though it’s likely that Tipton will still see strong support from the NRCC. But with all of Tipton’s early problems, from his Medicare shackles to errors of his own doing, the NRCC won’t have a lot of patience for him if he doesn’t start raising a lot more money while making a lot fewer mistakes.
Perhaps the most interesting note in Saturday’s story is that Pace says he plans to continue to serve as House Minority Leader in the 2012 legislative session. Whether to resign or stay is always a difficult decision for sitting legislators running for higher office, in large part because the legislative session sucks up an enormous amount of time that candidates need to use for fundraising. In Pace’s case, this was the right decision; his leadership status will make sure that he gets his name in the local newspapers more often than if he were a full-time candidate, and that earned media coverage can be as useful as some of the money he might otherwise be raising for paid ads later.