Businessman Wil Armstrong is headed into Tuesday’s Republican primary without any track record as an elected official, but his supporters argue that it’s his experience outside of political office that will make him an effective representative for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District.
Former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney have both endorsed Armstrong, the son of former Colorado U.S. Sen. Bill Armstrong.
“Wil Armstrong is a career businessman, not a career politician,” Romney said last month in a statement endorsing Armstrong. “It is that real-world experience that Washington so desperately needs today. He has dealt with complex business situations and forged solutions during both the highs and lows of an unstable economy.”
Armstrong’s name recognition and family connections may have helped him win the support of other one-time political players such as Jack Kemp, the 1996 Republican vice presidential nominee, and Gigi Dennis, former Colorado Secretary of State, who are included in the extensive list of Armstrong supporters at his Web site.
Current Sen. Wayne Allard and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave are also listed as supporters.
Although it may seem ironic that the candidate who frames himself as the political outsider has support from the widest range of insiders, Armstrong campaign spokesman Jack Stansbery said those familiar with the Beltway may be in the best position to know who should represent CD 6.
“Leaders across the board all realize that we need to do something different in Washington, and we need to change politics as usual and Wil is the right guy to do that,” said Stansbery, adding that the majority of Armstrong endorsers are community and business leaders, not the handful of high-profile political names.
Armstrong, the CEO of a software and technology firm, is running against three seasoned politicians: Colorado’s current Secretary of State Mike Coffman, state Sen. Steve Ward of Littleton and state Sen. Ted Harvey.
Retiring congressman and former presidential candidate Tom Tancredo currently represents the district, which is considered safe for a Republican candidate who will face Democrat Hank Eng in the general election.