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June 02, 2016 12:40 PM UTC

Could Callie Vargas Actually Retire Doug Lamborn?

  • 5 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
Calandra Vargas and her horse Beauty.
CD-5 candidate Calandra Vargas (R).

Buzz appears to be growing in Colorado Springs over the upstart young legislative aide who shocked the Republican CD-5 assembly in April by routing incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn–by a margin almost large enough to toss the longtime GOP incumbent out of the race entirely. The Colorado Springs Independent reports this week on the insurgent GOP primary campaign of Calandra Vargas, and the growing possibility of this unknown young woman pole-vaulting into Congress over Colorado’s “Most Useless Lawmaker.”

At the Fifth Congressional District Assembly in April, Calandra Vargas — Christian missionary, legislative aide, equestrienne, organic gardener, animal rights defender and 32-year-old military brat — took the stage after being nominated from the floor.

The newcomer gave a rousing speech and walked away with 58 percent of the delegate vote, coming within fewer than 20 votes of bumping five-term U.S. Congressman Doug Lamborn out of the Republican primary…

“It was like skydiving — the whole world opened up,” Vargas remembers. “I was like, ‘I have a real race. I could actually be the next congresswoman from this district.'”

Vargas’ strong showing at the CD-5 assembly gave her the top spot on the June 28th primary ballot. Thanks largely to her own charisma and infectious charm as a retail politicker, Vargas is turning heads with her lively–if admittedly underdog–challenge to Lamborn.

vargas2Lamborn’s traditional strength in this race against Republican primary challengers he has faced in almost every election cycle has been his unquestioning support for well-heeled military contractors with a presence in this defense-dominated district. Lamborn has never achieved anything like authentic loyalty from the Republican base in CD-5, however, and is frequently dissed by local Republicans as a feeble representative for such a conservative bastion as El Paso County. Unforced errors like Lamborn’s hypocritical votes against disaster relief funds and the infamous “tar baby” Obama smear paint a picture of a politician who still isn’t ready for the prime-time spot he’s held for nearly a decade.

Vargas’ big win over Lamborn at the assembly underscores the dissatisfaction with Lamborn among the Republican Party grassroots. Translating that success into victory on June 28th is dependent on Vargas getting her name out widely enough to register with GOP primary voters next to the well-known but less-than-loved Rep. Lamborn. We expect to see Lamborn on the air before the primary himself–maybe a lot depending on how nervous Vargas is making his benefactors.

Bottom line? Vargas is no vanity candidate, and she has just enough actual political experience to not be totally out of place in this primary. Combining the district’s historically fractious red-on-red politics, little love for the incumbent, and the big fat question mark of this crazy election season in general, we can’t rule anything out.

Including the chance we’ll kick off 2017 with Congresswoman Calandra Vargas.

Comments

5 thoughts on “Could Callie Vargas Actually Retire Doug Lamborn?

  1. Now, there's something we haven't seen very often . . . 

    . . . pictures of  a Colorado Republican candidate posing with the front end of a horse?!?

    (Could we be witnessing the start of something new and different? . . . )

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