New Poll Shows Pace, Tipton in Dead Heat

According to results of a poll released today by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Sal Pace is running neck-and-neck with incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Tipton. From a news release:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee today released a new Grove Insight poll that shows Sal Pace (CO-03) and Congressman Scott Tipton statistically tied. Despite being an incumbent, Congressman Tipton garners only 42 percent in the initial head to head vote while Pace is close behind with 39 percent.

Almost half, 46 percent, give Congressman Tipton a negative evaluation of his time in office and only 37 percent approve.

Anytime a poll is conducted by a partisan organization, you have to take the results with a certain amount of salt grains. But it’s unlikely that the numbers would be significantly different in either direction depending on the pollster.  

 

Sal Pace Up With Second Campaign Ad

Democrat Sal Pace is up with his second ad of the campaign cycle in CD-3, and it’s another strong, personal message.

We’ve long said in this space that Pace has the best chance of any challenger in Colorado to unseat a sitting member of Congress. These are the type of ads that increase those odds.

Somebody Woke Up Scott Tipton

Republican Rep. Scott Tipton was off to an odd start in his bid for re-election at the close of 2011, with fundraising numbers so poor that he actually spent more money in Q4 last year than he raised.

Someone apparently explained to Tipton that it’s not a good idea to let your Democratic challenger continue to raise more money than you, because Tipton finally responded with his first respectable fundraising quarter since being elected in 2010. Tipton pulled in $378,000 in Q1 compared to $280,000 from Democrat Sal Pace. That Q1 haul for Pace was impressive on its own, which made it all the more crucial for Tipton to post his own strong numbers.

Huge Fundraising Quarter for Pace

Democrat Sal Pace has separated himself from other Congressional challengers in Colorado as the most likely to oust an incumbent in November. Today his campaign announced that he had raised $280,000 in Q1, which qualifies as the most successful quarter of any CD-3 challenger since the 2000 redistricting (the previous record was John Salazar’s $153,177 raised in Q1 2004.

Incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Tipton has thus far shown weak fundraising numbers, though his Q1 results are not yet available. Given Tipton’s multitude of policy problems, he can’t afford — literally — to let Pace keep winning the fundraising battle.

Full press release from Pace campaign after the jump.

Pace Raises Over $280,000 In First Quarter,

Sets New Fundraising Record

Pueblo, CO – In the most recent fundraising quarter, Congressional Candidate Sal Pace raised over $280,000, setting yet another record fundraising quarter for a challenger in Colorado’s Third District. He will also report over $520,000 in cash on hand, demonstrating his ability to compete this November. In the quarter Pace had over 1,400 individual donors, with 90 percent of those contributions coming from Coloradans, demonstrating the growing grassroots support and momentum of Pace’s campaign.

“Our fundraising shows that people are fed up with the partisan politics that have gridlocked Washington and our message of commonsense representation is spreading across the district,” said Sal Pace. “We are going to continue to run a campaign that focuses on jobs and a strong economy, not the partisan ideology that the incumbent has supported in Washington D.C.”

Pace went on to note, “contributions soared after our opponent voted to cut Medicare benefits in order to pay for a special interest tax break for multi-millionaires.”

This record-setting haul occurred despite that the Pace for Congress campaign did not accept contributions from registered Colorado lobbyists or organizations with affiliates who lobby before the Colorado State House since the legislative session commenced on January 11th.

Details about Pace’s Fourth Quarter fundraising numbers:

     1464 individuals contributed to Pace’s campaign in the first quarter, bringing the campaign total to more than 2700 individual donors since June 1st;

      90 percent of all individual donors reside in Colorado;

      More than 88% of all individual contributors gave $200 or less to the Pace campaign;

Historical Overviews of CD-3 Non-Incumbents First Quarter Raised Totals

      Scott Tipton raised $140,767 in 2010*

      Wayne Wolf raised $2,966 in 2008

      Scott Tipton raised $68,286 in 2006

      John Salazar raised $153,177 in 2004*

*Was successfully elected in general election.

UPDATE: How Dare You Do That Thing That I Did

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Charles Ashby of the Sentinel responds today with a blog update citing votes which at least partly back up his original contention that Rep. Scott Tipton voted against funding for the senior homestead exemption. A Democratic-sponsored amendment to fund half the exemption in 2010 was voted down by Tipton in addition to his votes against the Senate bill, ultimately enacted, completely suspending the exemption until this year:

The bill came forward on second reading the day before the last day of the 2010 session. At that moment the bill was to suspend the entire exemption, $94 million a year for two years.

The Rep. Jim Reisberg, D-Greeley, offered an amendment to fund half of the exemption. Along with him, Republicans spoke in favor of it, some Democrats spoke against it. Then Rep. Kathlene Curry, D-Gunnison, was in the chair, and approved it on an overwhelming “division” vote of legislators. That vote required supporters of the amendment to stand and be counted. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle did so.

Moments later, even though the bill at that point funded half of the exemption, Republicans spoke out and then voted against it.

The following day, the last day of the session when it came up for thirds, Reisberg offered a third-reading amendment that corrected a drafting mistake in the second reading amendment from the day before. The amendment was essentially the same thing. It passed unanimously, 65-0, with Tipton and McNulty and everyone voting for it.

Moments later, Tipton and the Republicans voted against the bill, a bill that, at the time of that vote, funded half of the exemption for seniors. [Pols emphasis]

What say you, Polsters? We don’t want the complexities of these fleeting proposals and procedural votes to confuse the issue, but if Ashby can correctly state that Tipton voted against the exemption because he rejected Rep. Jim Riesberg’s 50% compromise, we have no desire to service Frank McNulty by arguing against it. Above all, we strive to be accurate.

It occurs to us that you could also view this as GOP insistence on 100% netting them 0%, which we suppose would allow Tipton and McNulty technical accuracy, but doesn’t look good.

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UPDATE: Apparently Ashby was wrong in his blog post that Tipton voted for the same bill. Maybe Tipton will get some mileage out of attacking Pace over the senior property tax exemption — which might help him with senior citizens angry over Tipton’s votes to privatize Medicare.

For more on the uneven relationship between the GOP and the senior homestead exemption through the years, as noted by State Bill Colorado, Tim Hoover’s 2010 story is worth a read.

But our record of a newspaper’s blog post that, from everything we can see, needed correcting several days ago is now corrected. Thanks as always to our vigilant readers.

One of the primary reasons that CD-3 is considered a potential Democratic pick-up in 2012 is because of the general ineptitude of freshman Rep. Scott Tipton, who excels at tripping over his own feet.

Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Sentinel recently noted another gaffe by Tipton as he tried to attack Democratic challenger Sal Pace:

In a campaign email [this week], GOP U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton chastises state Rep.Sal Pace, D-Pueblo and his 3rd Congressional Distirct challenger, for “consistently” voting to end the state’s senior property tax exemption…

…While Pace did vote along with other lawmakers in 2009 and 2010 not to fund the property tax break during those years because of the recession, so did Tipton [Pols emphasis], at least in 2010.

That year, when Cortez Republican still served in the Colorado Legislature, he voted along with all 65 members of the House to approve SB190. Unlike the 2009 measure that suspended the break for one year, the 2010 bill did so for two years.

Good work, team Tipton! Way to draw attention to an issue that is going to damage your own campaign as well!

Remind Us Why This Makes Sense, Congressmen?

Yesterday Republican Reps. Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton both voted in favor of a budget that would all but destroy Medicare, and we’re having trouble understanding the political strategy here. As Talking Points Memo explains:

For the second year in a row, Republicans voted Thursday to effectively dismantle Medicare – this time, just over seven months before a presidential election. And Democrats are salivating at the political opportunity, eager to hang the vote around the neck of the party’s presidential nominee and its candidates in tough congressional races.

“A year ago, nobody was talking about Democrats having a shot at the House. Now we’re talking about it,” a Democratic leadership aide told TPM after the vote, a party-line 228-191 that didn’t win a single Dem.

The blueprint by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan is similar to his controversial Medicare plan last year, in that it ends the health insurance guarantee for seniors and replaces the program with a subsidized insurance-exchange system. Unlike last year’s plan, seniors can buy into traditional Medicare as a sort-of public option, and the vouchers it provides are more generous…

…As it turns out, Democrats would love to fight the battle on those terms. They’re expected to make Medicare a focal point of their election message, portraying Republicans as seeking to “break the Medicare guarantee” in order to fund large tax cuts for the rich.

“Our main focus will be on Medicare,” the Democratic aide said. “There’s clear evidence that seniors are very worried about what Republicans are doing with Medicare. And we want people to know that this is who they are in a nutshell. There’s no wiggle room for them.”

Both Coffman and Tipton voted for the “Ryan Plan” in 2011 as well, and we’re just as confounded by this vote as we were last year. While these votes may make the Tea Party happy, it’s not going to go over well with moderate and Independent senior citizens. The votes are particularly problematic for Tipton, who pledged as a candidate in 2010 that he would protect Medicare (see press release after the jump from the campaign of Democrat Sal Pace). Tipton is going to have a tough time holding off Pace in CD-3, and pissing off senior citizens isn’t a smart idea in our book.

As for Coffman, we can only assume that he is casting these votes with an eye towards a 2014 Senate race against Democrat Mark Udall; while these votes will certainly be dredged up in a general election against Udall, Coffman might figure he needs to position himself firmly on the right in order to fend off primary challengers. Democrat Joe Miklosi will make as much hay out of this as he can in his challenge to Coffman this fall, but at this point it doesn’t look like Miklosi’s campaign will have enough strength to really make a run at the CD-6 incumbent.  

Scott Tipton Again Breaks Promise To Seniors By Voting To End The Medicare Guarantee

Today, for the second time since being elected, Congressman Tipton broke his 2010 campaign promise to never cut or privatize Medicare. Tipton voted for the controversial House budget that would end the Medicare guarantee and raise health care costs for seniors while giving people making over $1 million per year a $394,000 tax cut.

In contrast, just days ago days ago, his opponent Sal Pace – with over 1,000 other Coloradans – promised to protect Medicare for our seniors.

“Even though while campaigning in 2010 my opponent said ‘no cuts, no privatization’ to Medicare we are seeing once again where his priorities are” said Pace. “Getting the deficit under control is important, but we have to do it in a reasonable fashion. Eliminating benefits for seniors and replacing it with a voucher program that would more than double what seniors currently pay is not the way to do it.”

The House proposal supported by Tipton according to the AARP, would “simply increase costs for beneficiaries while removing Medicare’s promise of secure health coverage” and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found Medicare benefits “would likely shrink.”

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Background

In his 2010 campaign, Tipton promised never to privatize Social Security or Medicare. “I’ll never put our seniors’ future at risk. No cuts, no privatization, and no scaring our seniors just to try and win this election.” [American Spectator, 10/15/10]

Tipton Voted for the House Republican Budget. On March 29, 2012, Tipton voted in favor of the House Republican budget. H.Con.Res. 112, Vote # 151, 3/29/12]Congressional Budget Office: Ryan’s Plan Would Likely Shrink Medicare Benefits, Increase Number Of Uninsured. “Medicare benefits would likely shrink under Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) latest proposal, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday. The budget office also said the number of people without health insurance could be ‘much higher’ under Ryan’s plan because it would repeal President Obama’s healthcare law. Ryan’s Medicare plan would convert some of the program’s funding into subsidies for private insurance. Seniors could choose between the traditional single-payer program or a private plan.” [The Hill, 3/20/11

AARP: Ryan’s Plan Would Increase Health Care Costs for Older Americans. AARP CEO Addison Barry Rand wrote to Members of Congress on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget resolution. In the letter, Rand wrote: “this proposal simply shifts these high and growing costs onto Medicare beneficiaries, and it then shifts even higher costs of increased uninsured care onto everyone else […] By creating a ‘premium support’ system for future Medicare beneficiaries, the proposal is likely to simply increase costs for beneficiaries while removing Medicare’s promise of secure health coverage — a guarantee that future seniors have contributed to through a lifetime of hard work.” [AARP Letter, 3/21/12]

House Republican Budget Would Give People Making Over $1 Million Per Year a $394,000 Tax Cut. “New analysis by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (TPC) finds that people earning more than $1 million a year would receive $265,000 apiece in new tax cuts, on average, on top of the $129,000 they would receive from the Ryan budget’s extension of President Bush’s tax cuts.” [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/27/12; see also Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, Table T12-0078 and T10-0132]

Somebody Wake Up Scott Tipton; Pace Outraises Incumbent

Republican Rep. Scott Tipton continues to underwhelm in his bid to win re-election in CD-3. According to his fundraising report for Q4 filed late yesterday, Tipton raised $176,532 in the last three months of 2011. That’s a pretty weak quarter for a targeted incumbent, but what’s even stranger is that Tipton spent $435 more than he raised ($176,967 in expenditures for Q4). Tipton’s campaign spent $11,388 on media production, which we assume is for future TV ads, but the bulk of his money was spent on fundraising, via consultants and events. You don’t need to be handy with an abacus to know that you’re not getting a good investment when you spend more than you earn on a service.

Democrat Sal Pace, on the other hand, outraised Tipton in Q4 ($206,482) and managed his money much better, with only $77,678 in expenditures.

All told, Tipton begins 2012 with a total cash-on-hand amount of $510,384. Pace starts the year with $341,430 in the bank.

Tipton has been a bit of a mess in his first year in Congress, sticking his foot in his mouth on several occasions. And while recent polling shows that he holds an early lead over Pace, Tipton is not popular in CD-3. Maybe Tipton will wake up in Q1 and post numbers that show national Republicans that he is truly prepared to fight for his seat; if he doesn’t change the momentum in this race soon, the NRCC may decide that they don’t want to expend a lot of resources helping a candidate who isn’t helping himself.  

Pace Sets Fundraising Record in Tipton Challenge

The campaign for Democrat Sal Pace announced today that the former House Minority Leader raised more than $200,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011 and enters 2012 with the strongest fundraising start of any non-incumbent in the history of CD-3.

Pace has raised more than $465,000 since announcing his campaign on June 1, 2011. By comparison, incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Tipton had collected $109,981 by the start of 2010; Tipton defeated incumbent Rep. John Salazar in November of that year.

The strong fundraising start for Pace should keep him among the top tier of Democratic challengers in 2012 — particularly if Tipton continues to underperform in the money department.

Full press release follows…

Congressional Candidate Sal Pace Raises Over $200,000 In Fourth Quarter; Enters Election Year With Most Raised By Any Non-Incumbent in CD-3 History

(Pueblo) – Sal Pace raised more than $200,000 towards his campaign for Colorado’s Third Congressional District during the most recent fundraising quarter, which ended December 31st.   Contributions this past quarter came from nearly 1,000 individuals and was his strongest quarter to date in this race, demonstrating expanding momentum for his campaign.

“I am honored to have such a strong base of support from our communities in these tough economic times,” said Pace.  “I understand I am the underdog in this race, but our grassroots support demonstrates that our campaign is gaining traction every day, and that people want practical solutions and commonsense leadership in these trying times.”

Since announcing his campaign on June 1st, Sal Pace has raised more than $465,000.  This is the most raised by a non-incumbent in the Third Congressional District during the twelve months prior to election year.  

Historical Overview of CD-3 Non-Incumbents and Their Off-Year Raised Totals

Sal Pace raised more than $465,000 in 2011

Scott Tipton raised $109,981 in 2009*

Wayne Wolf raised $3,389 in 2007

Scott Tipton raised $171,173 in 2005

John Salazar raised $62,845 in 2003*

The campaign will report having over $335,000 cash-on-hand headed into the election year.

Report Statistics:

991 individuals contributed to Pace’s campaign in the fourth quarter, bringing the campaign total to more than 1,850 individual donors since June 1st;

Nearly 91 percent of all individual donors reside in Colorado;

Three-quarters of all individual contributors gave $200 or less to the Pace campaign;

The average individual contribution was $125.

 *Was the successful candidate in the following year.

Ferrandino Unopposed, New House Minority Leader

UPDATE #2: AP’s Ivan Moreno:

After being chosen at a caucus hearing, Ferrandino recalled how his parents discouraged him from running for office because of his difficult childhood as a special education student.

“I think my parents, as parents are, protective and didn’t want to see me get hurt,” Ferrandino said. He said to students in special education: “You can do whatever you want. You put your mind to it, you can achieve.”

…Republican House Speaker Frank McNulty congratulated Ferrandino on his election and praised his work on the JBC.

“He is a good friend, and I look forward to working with him. As the House Democrat member of the Joint Budget Committee, Mark showed an interest in spending restraint,” McNulty said in a statement.

—–

UPDATE: Rep. Claire Levy has been appointed to replace Ferrandino on the Joint Budget Committee. Statement from Colorado Democratic Party chairman Rick Palacio after the jump.

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Leading LGBT blog Out Front Colorado fittingly has the first story up:

For the second time in ten years a member of the Colorado LGBT community will lead the Democrats in the state House of Representatives.

Denverite Rep. Mark Ferrandino was elected as minority leader by his peers.

He ran unopposed. He succeeds Pueblo’s Sal Pace who is running for Congress…

In 2009, Ferrandino was appointed to the powerful Joint Budget Committee. As minority leader he’ll have to resign from that post.

Moreover, he’ll now be in charge of appointing his colleagues to committees, help run the floor debates and votes for bills.

Republicans control the House by one vote, 33-32.

If Democrats take back the House in 2012 and Ferrandino is re-elected, he’ll be poised to become the first out gay speaker of the House in Colorado.

We’ll update with statements as they come in.

Statement by CDP Chairman Rick Palacio on Rep. Mark Ferrandino’s Election as State House Minority Leader

Denver – After Representative Mark Ferrandino was unanimously selected by his Democratic colleagues to serve as the Colorado State House Minority Leader, Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio released the following statement:

“Representative Ferrandino will be a strong leader for our Democratic House Caucus. His commitment to Colorado’s working families and small businesses is unwavering. I congratulate Minority Leader Ferrandino on his election and look forward to working together to fight for our Democratic values.”

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Sal Pace Raises $165,000 in Q3

Democrat Sal Pace announced today that his campaign for congress in CD-3 raised $165,000 in the third quarter of this year. Those are strong, though not overwhelming numbers, but it’s all relative depending on Rep. Scott Tipton’s fundraising; Tipton brought in just $147,184 in Q2, and if he maintains that poor level of fundraising, then Pace will be in good shape.

Full press release after the jump.

Sal Pace raised $165,000 towards his campaign for Colorado’s Third Congressional District during the most recent fundraising quarter, which ended September 30th.   Pace raised more in his first full fundraising quarter than the incumbent, Scott Tipton, did in his last complete quarter.  Tipton raised $147,184 in the second quarter of this year.

“It is evident, even in these troubled economic times, that residents of the district want a congressman who will implement commonsense and practical solutions that will bring jobs back to our communities and help turn around the economy,” said Pace.  “I understand I am the underdog in this race, but our grassroots support demonstrates that our campaign is gaining traction every day.”

Since announcing his campaign on June 1st, Sal Pace has raised more than a quarter-million dollars.  With three months still remaining in the fundraising year, this is the most raised by a non-incumbent in the Third Congressional District during the twelve months prior to election year.  The campaign will report having $212,000 cash on hand headed into the final fundraising quarter of 2011.

In contrast, in the year prior to winning the seat, Tipton only raised $109,981 during the entirety of 2009.

Report Statistics:

– 917 individuals contributed to Pace’s campaign in the third quarter, bringing the campaign total to more than 1,200 individual donors since June 1st;

– Ninety-two percent of all individual donors reside in Colorado;

– More than three-quarters of all individual contributors gave an average of $100 or less to the Pace campaign.

And That’s Why I’m Running for Congress…Somewhere in Colorado

One of the quirks that come in a redistricting year is that the Federal Election Commission is a bit lax on requiring candidates seeking a Congressional office to actually state which office they plan to run for. Take, for example, the case of Democrat Perry Haney, a wealthy Greenwood Village chiropractor who wants to run for Congress…somewhere.

Haney has been meeting with Democrats in Colorado and in Washington D.C., telling them that he plans to run for Congress, but he won’t say where he plans to kickoff his campaign. Is it against Republican Rep. Mike Coffman (and Democratic challenger Joe Miklosi) in CD-6? Is it to take on Republican Rep. Scott Tipton in CD-3, where Democrat Sal Pace has been running full-steam ahead for months?

We visited his website, paid for by “The Perry Haney for Congress Exploratory Committee,” to “explore” that question, and it doesn’t indicate anywhere that he has decided where he will run, though a look at some of the pictures and the text makes it appear as though he’s definitely leaning more towards CD-3 than anywhere else. We did get a kick out of his issue statement “On Career Politicians,” where Haney talks, of course, about how he is not a career politician; but he’s got the career politician thing figured out, it seems, since he won’t even commit to a district.

Haney recently sent a mail piece to Democratic delegates in CD-3 that left a UPS Store P.O. Box in Grand Junction as the return address, giving more indication that he may, perhaps, choose to run in Southern and Western Colorado (though he never explicitly says in the letter that he is running for Congress in CD-3). If he does run there, he will have a lot of explaining to do about being a wealthy Denver resident with little previous involvement in politics. Haney has made several donations to Democrats over the years, but he has also donated regularly to Republicans; Haney gave Scott McInnis a $500 check in his campaign for Colorado governor in 2009, $250 to Republican Attorney General Gale Norton in 1995, and $200 to the National Republican Congressional Committee in 1996. This won’t help him earn any friends in a Democratic primary, either.

We don’t see how Haney could possibly win a Democratic primary wherever he ultimately decides to run for Congress. We hear that he does have some personal wealth that he might commit to a campaign, and he had better hope so — we don’t see him raising much money as an unknown Denverite with no natural base in CD-3 or CD-6. But maybe he’ll figure this out as part of his grand “exploration.”

Tipton: Q2 Fundraising Loser

Our friends at the Washington Post take ominous note of Rep. Scott Tipton’s lackluster Q2:

After getting off to a slow start in the first quarter, many of the most vulnerable Republican freshmen [Pols emphasis] continued to put off fundraising for their first reelection campaigns.

Rep. David Rivera (Fla.) pulled in $34,000 as he faces ethics questions. Reps. Tom Marino (Pa.), Daniel Webster (Fla.), Ann Marie Buerkle (N.Y.) and Mike Kelly (Pa.) each raised less than $125,000, while Reps. Dan Benishek (Mich.), Jon Runyan (N.J.) and Scott R. Tipton (Colo.) each raised less than $150,000.

Adds the AP:

In campaign finance reports turned in last week, the 3rd District congressman reported raising less than $150,000 last quarter. That’s less than half raised by his fellow freshman, Colorado Republican Rep. Cory Gardner.

A spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee says Tipton will have enough to defeat his Democratic challenger, state Rep. Sal Pace of Pueblo. Pace raised about $100,000 last quarter – but Pace raised that amount in one month instead of 3…

The NRCC always talks a good game, but the substantial fundraising disparity between freshmen Reps. Scott Tipton and Cory Gardner could begin to tell its own story very soon. While Gardner looks strong in anticipation of a high-profile fight against Colorado Senate President Brandon Shaffer, Tipton…well? It’s early yet, but you have to wonder if we’re seeing real signs now of who national GOP strategists deem worthy of investment–and not.

Pace Raises $100K in 30 Days, Will Stay on as Minority Leader

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.

House Democrats Announce Committee Assignments

The full list in a press release after the jump.

House Minority Leader Sal Pace today announced the Democratic committee assignments for the coming legislative session that opens on January 12, 2011.  Democrats hold 32 seats in the House while Republicans hold 33.  

Included in the announcement were appointments for the Democrats’ nine newly-elected (and appointed) members, Representatives-elect Crisanta Duran (Denver), Rhonda Fields (Aurora), Deb Gardner (Boulder), Millie Hamner (Summit County), Matt Jones (Louisville), Pete Lee (Colorado Springs), Dan Pabon (Denver), Angela Williams (Denver), and Roger Wilson (Garfield County).  

Pace praised the newest members of the House, calling them “extraordinarily promising lawmakers.”  Rep.-elect Roger Wilson, who was appointed to the Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee, said “I’m excited to be on a committee that is a key economic component to the district I serve.”  

Rep.-elect Angela Williams, a small-business owner, said she would use her assignment to the Economic and Business Development Committee, “to focus on creating jobs, fixing the economy and creating small business opportunities for entrepreneurs.”

Newly appointed Rep.-elect Millie Hamner was selected to be on the Education Committee and on the Transportation Committee, where she has vowed to, “work on behalf of our local economy by fighting for scarce transportation dollars and keeping the Western Slope a beautiful place that continues to attract visitors from all over the globe.”

Agriculture, Livestock, and Natural Resources

Ranking Member: Rep. Randy Fischer, Fort Collins

Rep. Wes McKinley, Baca County

Rep. Su Ryden, Aurora

Rep. Ed Vigil, Alamosa

Rep.-elect Matt Jones, Louisville

Rep.-elect Roger Wilson, Glenwood Springs

Appropriations

Ranking Member: Rep. Mark Ferrandino, Denver

Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, Gunbarrel

Rep. Andy Kerr, Lakewood

Rep. Jim Riesberg, Greeley

Rep. Judy Solano, Adams County

Rep.-elect Dan Pabon, Denver

Economic and Business Development

Ranking Member: Rep. John Soper, Adams County

Rep. Joe Miklosi, Denver

Rep. Max Tyler, Golden

Rep.-elect Deb Gardner, Boulder

Rep.-elect Angela Williams, Denver

Rep.-elect Roger Wilson, Glenwood Springs

Education Committee

Ranking Member: Rep. Judy Solano, Adams County

Rep. Andy Kerr, Lakewood

Rep. Cherylin Peniston, Westminster

Rep. Sue Schafer, Wheat Ridge

Rep. Nancy Todd, Aurora

Rep.-elect Millie Hamner, Summit County

Finance Committee

Ranking Member: Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, Gunbarrel

Rep. Daniel Kagan, Arapahoe County

Rep. John Kefalas, Fort Collins

Rep. Jeanne Labuda, Denver

Rep.-elect Crisanta Duran, Denver

PLUS Rep.-elect Dan Pabon, Denver

Health and Environment

Ranking member: Rep. Jim Riesberg, Greeley

Rep. John Kefalas, Fort Collins

Rep-elect Rhonda Fields, Aurora

Rep. Beth McCann, Denver

Rep. Cherylin Peniston, Westminster

Rep. Sue Schafer, Wheat Ridge

Judiciary Committee

Ranking Member: Rep. Claire Levy, Boulder

Rep. Daniel Kagan, Arapahoe County

Rep. Su Ryden, Aurora

Rep.-elect Crisanta Duran, Denver

Rep.-elect Pete Lee, Colorado Springs

Local Government

Ranking Member: Rep. Ed Casso, Adams County

Rep. Beth McCann, Denver

Rep. John Soper, Adams County

Rep.-elect Rhonda Fields, Aurora

Rep.-elect Pete Lee, Colorado Springs

State, Veterans, and Military Affairs

Ranking Member: Rep. Nancy Todd, Aurora

Rep. Lois Court, Denver

Rep. Claire Levy, Boulder

Rep. Joe Miklosi, Denver

Transportation Committee

Ranking Member: Rep. Max Tyler, Golden

Rep. Randy Fischer, Fort Collins

Rep. Matt Jones, Louisville

Rep.-elect Deb Gardner, Boulder

Rep.-elect Millie Hamner, Summit County

Rep.-elect Angela Williams, Denver

Capitol Development Committee:

Rep. Ed Vigil, Alamosa

Audit Committee:

Rep. Joe Miklosi, Denver

Rep.-elect Deb Gardner, Boulder

Sal Pace Elected Democratic House Leader

We just got word that Rep. Sal Pace was picked this morning, either to serve as Speaker of the House or Minority Leader depending on the outcome of still-tabulating House District 29. We should note, though, that Democrats are going out of their way to be realistic about their chances there, and House leaders aren’t operating under the expectation that they’ll be in the majority.

They may have barely lost the House, but those tiny minority cubicles won’t be any more inviting — particularly for Rep. Andy Kerr, who a few months ago was expected to be the new Speaker of the House.

Sal Pace Goes to, Um, Denver

From State 38:

It looks like Sal Pace, my good friend and former District Director for Congressman John Salazar, will be spending a lot more time in Denver next year – his opponent in the Democratic primary for HD46 just announced he won’t petition onto the ballot for the seat currently held by retiring Rep. Dorothy Butcher.

Pace and a well organized team of supporters managed to keep former Pueblo County Democratic Chairman Chuck Rodosevich just below the 30% mark at the Pueblo County Assembly last month.  That means Rodosevich didn’t automatically receive a spot on the primary ballot, but still had the option of gathering 1,000 signatures to petition on.

An article in the Pueblo Chieftain today says that won’t happen.  Rodesevich talked it over with his family and decided “there are lots of reasons not to press on with a petition campaign and a primary race.”

This means that in all likelihood Pace will be the next State Representative from HD46.  The Republicans have a candidate, but the district votes overwhelming Democratic and Pace will work hard to make sure that trend continues.