Buck makes it official: Weld County DA joins Senate race against Bennet

Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck became the first official Republican candidate aiming to unseat U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, the Democrat appointed to the seat in January after Ken Salazar stepped down to become secretary of Interior. Buck, who has been making noise about running for months, made the announcement on his BuckforColorado.com Web site Tuesday morning.

Aurora Councilman Ryan Frazier has been testing the waters for the GOP nomination with an exploratory committee since earlier this month. Radio talk show host Dan Caplis and former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez have also been making the rounds and have said they’re considering a run against Bennet.

Buck has been in the news a lot recently, successfully prosecuting the first hate-crime conviction in the murder of a transgender victim last week in Greeley and defending against an ACLU lawsuit seeking to return thousands of tax records Buck and the Weld County sheriff seized in an identity-theft investigation against undocumented workers.

In his announcement, Buck said he wants to reduce government spending, pursue energy independence and achieve immigration reform. But it all comes down to an old-fashioned American work ethic:

“For too long Washington has forgotten the values of the rest of the country. I believe the strength of America is the work ethic, innovation and persistence of the American worker,” said Buck. “That is the fundamental message I want to carry to Washington.”

Buck is no slouch when it comes to social networking, including links to a Twitter feed, Facebook page and Ning account, though none of the three was active by Tuesday afternoon.

Buck told the Associated Press he hopes to raise $8 million to challenge Bennet, who came out of the box with a record $1.4 million raised in the first three months of this year.