Democrat joins race to unseat Rep. Scott Tipton

Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018 7:32 PM

Former Eagle County commissioner and social justice advocate Arn Menconi said Monday he’s getting in the race to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Tipton of Cortez in the 3rd Congressional District.

That puts the Democrat on a primary collision course, however, with former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush of Steamboat Springs, Glenwood Springs City Attorney Karl Hanlon and Durango resident Root Routledge.

Menconi has a tough road to Washington, however, by getting in the race late without a clear source of campaign funding or broad name recognition in the right-leaning district that sprawls across Western Colorado to Pueblo County.

“I will not take special interest money,” he told supporters Monday on Facebook. “I will take citizens who want change.”

Menconi ran for U.S. Senate in 2016, getting 1.3 percent of the vote as the Green Party nominee.

The mostly rural 3rd Congressional District includes all of Western Colorado as well as Pueblo County and part of Jefferson County. Donald Trump won by 12 percentage points there in 2016, when Tipton won re-election over former state Sen. Gail Schwartz by 14 percentage points.

He said he was motivated by political inaction and the deaths of high school students during a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“I’m running because 17 kids were shot on Valentine’s Day, and the Stonenman Douglas students renewed my faith in humanity and my fight,” he said on Facebook. “I will not let my kids grow up with assault weapons, global warming, racism and income inequality at the hands of oligarchs. I want Donald Trump’s sickness out of office and Congress in the hands of Democrats who will impeach him. I’m done with incrementalism.

“DONALD NEEDS TO BE IMPEACHED. He will not arm teachers. He will not take us into nuclear war. He will be indicted on money laundering and lying if I’m elected. Our children should not be 17 years of age and trying to fight without adults on their side fighting with them.”

To get on the primary ballot, Menconi needs 1,000 signatures from Democrats registered to vote in 3rd Congressional District. They must have been registered 29 days before signing the petition. And they can sign the petition of only one candidate in the race.