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By Lindsey Bright
Here in Colorado’s 3rd congressional district, the state’s largest congressional district, a political race never belongs to one party.
This year, incumbent Republican Scott Tipton and Democrat Sal Pace are both running rigorous campaigns involving lots of travel, because the 3rd congressional district comprises 26 counties with no major voter hub, a point that Pace emphasized when he stopped in Pagosa Springs last Friday to talk to voters and receive feedback on what those voters consider the important issues in the race.
“This race will be won county by county, town by town,” Pace told the group of around 15 gathered at the Archuleta County Democratic Party headquarters. “We don’t have one city or county with all the voters … This race will be won going door to door, town to town.”
Pace puts this on-the-road motto into action, not just for himself, but his staff members as well. In the span of 24 hours, Pace visited Pagosa, Durango, Antonito and Alamosa. Staff members have been stuck in the mud, have run trucks nearly into the ground with the amount of miles put on them.
“We’ve seen moose, bear, elk, deer,” Pace said, adding that, so far during this campaign, he has not struck wildlife with a vehicle.
Pace, the youngest of nine children and the son of a mechanic, said he understands what the people are going through. He emphasizes that he is no different, neither coming from wealth nor working up to that status through lucrative business involvement.
“It’s time people like you and me had a voice in congress,” Pace told the crowd.
Pace called current incumbent Tipton’s and Paul Ryan’s new budget proposal, “more Draconian than imaginable,” a proposal that would, Pace believes, significantly cut and change Medicare.
“This is the wrong priority for Colorado and for Archuleta County,” Pace said.
Pace also emphasized his commitment to bipartisan problem solving.
“The problems we have now are not Democratic or Republican problems, and they will not have Democratic or Republican solutions,” Pace said. “We need a different approach in legislature … and we need to work together to solve problems,” Pace said to an applauding crowd. Pace gave a example of two bills he worked on with Republicans in the Colorado Senate, one of which was to leaven up rivers and streams, the other to get back money for education.
According to the campaign finance tracker website opensecrets.org, as of Sept. 16, Tipton had raised $1.6 million and Pace $1.2 million for the current race. For Tipton, 66 percent of the funds come from large contributions with another 29 percent from PAC contributions. Only 3 percent of Tipton’s funds have been garnered from small contributions. Pace’s fund-raising breakdown also shows the majority of funds in the form of large contributions, but a smaller percentage — 56 percent. PAC contributions account for 27 percent, and small contributions account for 15 percent.