After months of speculation over whether Jeff Crank will come back for a rematch, it’s official.
Crank announced today, Aug. 8, that he plans to challenge freshman Congressman Doug Lamborn in the 2008 Republican primary in Colorado’s 5th CD. Crank, the vice president of government sales with Xaware in Colorado Springs, came in second in last year’s six-way GOP primary to replace longtime Rep. Joel Hefley.
Keep reading for the letter Crank sent to friends and family.
August 8, 2007
Dear Friends and Family,
For the past several months I have been encouraged by friends, family, Republican leaders, elected officials and citizens of Colorado’s Fifth Congressional District to explore a campaign for the United States Congress. Understanding the burden that a Congressional campaign places on family and personal life, Lisa and I have spent the last few months in prayer and discussion about this race.
Rather than talk about past campaigns and previous election cycles, I am more interested in facing the challenges that lie ahead for our nation. There is much work to be accomplished for America and for our part of Colorado. I grew up in southern Colorado and care deeply about the issues that affect us on a daily basis. From supporting our military bases and doing everything possible to ensure their viability and survival, to our growing concerns over water issues, Colorado faces some difficult challenges. I have spent the last 15 years working on these issues on behalf of our community. I want to bring those conservative Colorado values to bear on our nation’s problems.
I believe our nation faces challenges even greater than those facing our state. The war on terror, crushing national debt, reckless spending and a federal government which cannot find the will to stop illegal immigration all threaten our way of life. The current Congress has chosen to try to score political victories rather than solve the problems that America faces. America needs leaders that are willing to take the Republican message of smaller government, economic opportunity and peace through strength to every corner of our country. Our leaders must be willing to lead convincingly while building relationships with others in our Colorado delegation as well as local and national leaders.
For these reasons, I filed as a candidate for Congress with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday. This allows me to begin raising the money and building the grassroots effort necessary to ensure a successful campaign. A formal announcement will come at a later date.
This campaign will only be a success with your support in time, talent and treasure. Thank you for your friendship and loyalty. Together, we will be unbeatable.
Lisa and I are grateful for your thoughts and prayers over the last year. We look forward to the campaign ahead and getting out our message about the greatness that lies ahead for America. If you’d like to join the Crank ’08 team or make a financial contribution, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or at:
Jeff Crank for Congress
P.O. Box 50887
Colorado Springs, CO 80949
UPDATE: Potential third GOP candidate Bentley Rayburn’s response to the news.
One question mark in the race is Bentley Rayburn. The retired Air Force General was a relative unknown when he jumped in the GOP primary last year and stunned observers when he finished a surprising third place in a field of six – including beating Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera. The conservative district includes El Paso and several surrounding counties in Southern Colorado.
Rayburn has made it no secret that he is interested in running again – which would likely be Lamborn’s best-case scenario. Popular wisdom has it that if Rayburn and Crank both run, they may split up votes and leave the incumbent in the winner’s seat.
On Wednesday, Colorado Confidential caught up with Rayburn, who is in Fargo, North Dakota, speaking to a ROTC group. Rayburn said that Crank had contacted him earlier in the day to let him know that he has filed his paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, but said hasn’t made up his mind about his own plans.
“Jeff has filed so well have to take that into consideration,” Rayburn said. “We’ll have to make our decision based on that, but we haven’t gotten to that point.”
Asked whether he’s leaning toward or against running, Rayburn said, “I don’t even know how to answer that question. I haven’t talked to anybody and I haven’t thought through this [Crank’s announcement]. I need to talk with a number of folks.”
“Jeff knows that I’m thinking about running so he’s made that decision with this knowledge. His timing is independent of my timing.”
Rayburn, who is expecting to return to Colorado tomorrow, says he expects to know his own plans “soon.”
Cara DeGette is a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential, and a columnist and contributing editor at the Colorado Springs Independent. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org