WASHINGTON – Two Republican state senators are planning to give U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., a run for his money next year.
Colorado Sens. Randy Baumgardner and Owen Hill will run against Udall for his U.S. Senate seat in the 2014 election.
“He (Udall) hasn’t done much since he’s been there (in Washington, D.C.),” Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, said in an interview Friday with The Durango Herald. “He hasn’t been representing the working class in Colorado.”
However, the incumbent won’t go down without a fight.
Udall’s campaign raised $2.8 million in the last six months, according to spokesman Mike Saccone.
This amount adds to his previous fundraising, totaling more than $3.4 million in cash on hand, he said.
This large figure indicates Udall is not only preparing for a fight, but warning off contenders as well.
“The Republican ticket is going to sort itself out,” Saccone said, referring to Udall’s reaction to the two new contenders.
Baumgardner said he is not worried about Udall’s current financial advantage.
“I’m glad he does” have an advantage, Baumgardner said in reference to the campaign’s recent numbers.
Baumgardner launched his campaign Friday with more than a year before the 2014 elections.
“The reason I announced early is because it’s going to take a while to assemble a good amount of money to put together for the campaign,” he said.
While Baumgardner and Hill are new faces in the Colorado State Senate, the Hot Sulphur Springs resident previously served in the state House for four years. Hill, of Colorado Springs, is still in his first term in the state Legislature.
Hill could not be reached for comment Friday.
Hill, who announced his candidacy earlier this week, previously proposed an anti-abortion measure that would have expanded Colorado’s existing ban on the use of public funds for the procedure.
Baumgardner pitched an Arizona-style immigration law for Colorado two years ago when he was in the House.
Republicans are hoping Colorado is ready for a change in the Senate, and that Baumgardner and Hill are strong candidates despite their inexperience.
“I think what people want is someone who’s fresh, who’s going to bring new ideas,” said Owen Loftus, a spokesman for the Colorado Republican Party. He downplayed the candidates’ proposals on abortion and immigration – both of which quickly failed – and said voters make their decision based on a range of issues.
“People in Colorado don’t vote on just two issues. They vote on the whole package,” he said.
Udall served as a state representative for one term before his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998.
He is now serving in his first term as a U.S. Senator.
Other potential contenders in the race include State Rep. Amy Stephens and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, but neither has decided yet, according to The (Grand Junction) Daily Sentinel.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Paige Jones is a student at American University in Washington, D.C., and an intern for The Durango Herald. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.