Tipton embraces Boehner, Ryan at GOP college rally

Pace says Republican is ducking debate

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, introduced Speaker of the House John Boehner at Monday’s GOP rally at Fort Lewis College. His opponent, Sal Pace, a Pueblo Democrat, spent time during the weekend on Twitter claiming Tipton is ducking an offer to debate at Fort Lewis, the alma mater of both men. Enlarge photo

JOSH STEPHENSON/Durango Herald

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, introduced Speaker of the House John Boehner at Monday’s GOP rally at Fort Lewis College. His opponent, Sal Pace, a Pueblo Democrat, spent time during the weekend on Twitter claiming Tipton is ducking an offer to debate at Fort Lewis, the alma mater of both men.

Throughout their campaign for Congress, Democratic challenger Sal Pace has been trying to tie incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, to Republican leadership in Washington.

Monday in Durango, Tipton fully embraced the top two Republicans in Congress, betting that they will be more of a help to his re-election than a hindrance.

Speaker of the House John Boehner held a fundraiser for Tipton on Sunday night, with tickets ranging from $250 to $2,500. Boehner stuck around Monday to join Tipton on stage with vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, the author of the House Republican budget that Pace frequently criticizes as extreme.

Tipton introduced Boehner and said he has been the firewall that prevented President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate President Harry Reid from having their way.

“This is a man who has stood the test of courage. He has fought for common-sense values in this country,” Tipton said.

Tipton also said Mitt Romney is the only presidential candidate who can be trusted to solve the national debt.

“I think Mr. Romney had it exactly right just a couple of weeks ago during that debate,” Tipton said. “This is not strictly an economic issue. This is indeed a moral issue for the future of this country.”

Pace has not yet campaigned with Obama.

Fort Lewis College invited Tipton and Pace, along with unaffiliated candidate Tisha Casida, to a debate on the campus. But Tipton’s campaign said the schedule couldn’t be worked out.

In a Friday email laced with sarcasm, Pace’s spokesman, James Dakin Owens, said he understands it’s sometimes hard to fit everything in.

“But, as luck would have it, it’s actually on his way home from his high-dollar fundraiser with Speaker Boehner. In fact, his alma mater has offered to host it, so he shouldn’t have any trouble finding the place,” Owens wrote.

The email continued by offering to pay for Tipton’s gas for the trip to Fort Lewis.

Pace took to Twitter over the weekend to make a Jeff Foxworthy-style joke.

“You may be an out of touch Congressman if … you’d rather be at a $1K-a-plate fundraiser than speak to your Durango constituents,” Pace tweeted.

Tipton’s campaign manager, Michael Fortney, said voters have had the chance to see the candidates head-to-head.

“Congressman Tipton has debated Sal Pace four times throughout the 3rd Congressional District. It is sad that Sal Pace continues to try to distract from the real issues of this campaign and his disastrous voting record of raising taxes and killing jobs,” Fortney said in an email.

jhanel@durangoherald.com

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