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May 20, 2016 02:24 PM UTC

Gail Schwartz Making Scott Tipton Sweat

  • by: Colorado Pols
Gail Schwartz.
Gail Schwartz.

The Colorado Independent’s Marianne Goodland reports on former state Sen. Gail Schwartz’s budding campaign against incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Tipton–a race that is turning heads as a potential second Dem congressional pickup in Colorado this year:

[Monday], Schwartz, who is seeking to unseat U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton of Cortez, announced she was among 14 candidates the DCCC moved from a list of “Emerging” races, to its top group of “Red to Blue” candidates. Red to Blue is a list of targeted House seats held by Republicans that Democrats hope to flip in November.

Schwartz joins state Sen. Morgan Carroll of Aurora on the list. Carroll is challenging U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in the Sixth Congressional District, in what has been the most watched House race in Colorado.

Schwartz said today that the boost “adds to our momentum in working to unseat Congressman Tipton. We will win this seat by continuing to connect with Coloradans who support my approach to public service, which is putting community interests before special interests and partisanship.”

Democrats are increasingly excited by Schwartz’s campaign, which could well result in Tipton’s toughest race since winning the seat in the 2010 “GOP wave election.” As the Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus reports today, the race is tougher on paper than Democrats’ top pickup opportunity in Mike Coffman’s swing CD-6–but Schwartz may have the right combination of strengths to nullify the district’s built-in GOP advantage:

Her announcement in April led the Cook Political Report, an online service that analyzes elections, to change its rating of the seat from “Solid Republican” to “Lean Republican.”

The district swings between Republicans and Democrats, though it currently favors a Republican candidate. Republicans make up about 34 percent of the district, while Democrats comprise about 29 percent.

With 35 percent of the sprawling district identifying as unaffiliated, tens of thousands of votes are potentially up in the air.

“We always take every race seriously,” Tipton, from Cortez, told The Durango Herald on Tuesday. “We’re going to continue to stay focused on doing our job standing up for our district’s interests.”

Tipton’s going to need to stay focused. Marcus reports that Schwartz has hired respected consultant firm OnSight Public Affairs run by veteran operative Mike Melanson to work on her race. Schwartz also has a great relationship with local Democratic donors after serving in the Colorado Senate. Combined with her listing in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) “Red to Blue” program, we don’t foresee money being a problem.

With that said, no one should be under any illusions that Schwartz will face an easy time unseating Scott Tipton. Tipton has handily bested the opponents he has faced since 2010, most recently walloping Abel Tapia of Pueblo in 2014 by a very comfortable margin. If it’s going to be different this time, a convergence of circumstances–Schwartz’s strength, Tipton’s newfound weakness after taking heavy fire for letting energy interest campaign donors write “his” legislation, and the broader weakness of the Republican ticket in this unique election year–will be what makes the difference.

In short, it’s a big lift–but rule Schwartz out at your peril.


12 thoughts on “Gail Schwartz Making Scott Tipton Sweat

  1. Nobody thought she stood a chance against respected Republican state Sen. Lew Entz when she first ran. She won.

    Tipton, who's incapable in speaking in anything other than talking points, is in for a tough campaign.

    1. It will be interesting to see how regionalism plays in this one. His (Tiptons) last two challengers were from Pueblo. She knows the western slope much better than either Sal or Abel, but will have to work Pueblo, hard….She has both the gravitas and the grit to win this one…

      It is damned hard to unseat an industry yes man who is entrenched with incumbency. Gail can raise money. She has good name recognition…doable..

      1. If Melanson pays attention to this race, she stands a much better chance than the past two Democratic challengers, Abel and Sal. Very intriguing race. 

    1. The GOP is most likely targeting money toward CD6 Coffman – and hasn't begun to figure our this or the US Senate seat which has been stuck on a "scrambler" ride at the state fair. So – makes me think Republican Rep. Tipton is still not on the radar for high bucks — but soon will get the memo.

  2. “We’re going to continue to stay focused on doing our job standing up for our district’s interests.”  

    Can't say they don't read the headlines.

  3. Gail Schwartz examples the adage the late State Sen. Joan Johnson had on her wall:

    "A woman has to be twice as good as a man to get the same respect.  

    Fortunately, that's easy."


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