Lamborn Ascends, Crank Readies Ammo

Freshman Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn has gotten a nice boost with his ascension from “waiting list” status to full member of the House Armed Services Committee. But his GOP foe Jeff Crank didn’t waste any time bringing in some big guns.It took the death of a sitting member of Congress, but Lamborn has landed a coveted seat on the House Armed Services Committee.

Lamborn, whose south-central Colorado district includes five military bases  – and  whose predecessor Rep. Joel Hefley spent 18 of his 20 years in Congress on Armed Services – has been on the “waiting list” for the 60-member committee since he was elected last November. Armed Services oversees the more than $400 billion in military and defense spending every year.

On Wednesday, Lamborn announced his appointment to the committee, following last Saturday’s death of Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-VA) – whose name was misspelled in the press release by Lamborn’s office as “Jo Anne Davis.”

“It is an honor to have the privilege of serving as an active member of the House Armed Services Committee,” Lamborn was quoted saying. “Colorado’s Fifth District is the proud home of five military installations and is one of our nation’s most military-intensive congressional districts. Our strong military presence is a great source of pride for my constituency, and I am proud to represent them as a member of the Armed Services Committee.

“It is critical for Congress to enact strong defense policies that ensure our servicemen and women are provided with the training, the tools, and the resources necessary to keep America safe. Serving on the House Armed Services Committee will afford me the opportunity to ensure our military interests are advanced in order to meet our national security requirements.

“The loss of Congresswoman Jo Anne Davis (VA-1) [sic] is something the Davis family, friends, and Congressional community will mourn, but her life and dedication to public service will serve as an inspiration to all of us. She will be missed. I intend serve on the House Armed Services Committee with the high honor and integrity she exhibited during her tenure.”

– Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-5)

The following day, Thursday, Lamborn’s office followed up with a statement about Davis’ death, after a two-year battle with breast cancer: This time his office got her name spelled right:

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-5) released the following statement in honor of Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis (VA-1) in light of her recent passing.

“It was a chilling moment to learn of Congresswoman Davis’s passing.  The loss of Congresswoman Davis is something Congress will mourn, but her life and dedication to public service will serve as an inspiration to all of us.  She will be missed not only by those of us who were privileged enough to have the honor of serving with her, but by the citizens of the 1st district of Virginia.  I would like to offer my condolences to her family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as the go through this painful time.”

– Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-5)

The five military installations within Colorado’s 5th Congressional District include: The Air Force Academy, Fort Carson Army Base, Peterson and Schriever Air Force bases and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

Jeff Crank, one of two Republicans who have announced plans to challenge Lamborn in next year’s primary, didn’t waste any time issuing news of his own.

On Thursday, the day after Lamborn announced the appointment, Crank released a list of 10 “distinguished military leaders” within the district who have endorsed his candidacy – including the former commanding general of Fort Carson, a former chief of staff at Fort Carson and the only U.S. Air Force pilot ace since the Korean War.

Crank is a former administrative staffer for former Rep. Hefley, who was widely credited for helping to secure Fort Carson from closure in the 1990s.

Bentley Rayburn, a retired Air Force major general, has also announced he is running in the GOP primary.

Cara DeGette is a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential and a columnist and contributing editor at the Colorado Springs Independent. E-mail her at