Pace says Tipton refuses to debate

UPDATE: Rep. Scott Tipton’s camp told The Denver Post on June 19 (the day after this story was published) that the congressman will participate in two debates this fall, one sponsored by Club 20 in Grand Junction and the other by the Pueblo Chieftain in Pueblo. Tipton hasn’t, however, committed to a debate in Aspen with Democrat challenger Sal Pace and unaffiliated challenger Tisha Casida. In 2010, the Club 20 and Pueblo debates were the only two of the 3rd Congressional District campaign.

Colorado Third Congressional District challenger Sal Pace issued a press release today, calling out Republican Congressman Scott Tipton for his apparent unwillingness to debate him.

Pace’s camp said that “after numerous debate invites,” Tipton has not agreed to discuss the district’s political issues.

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton (Photo by Troy Hooper)

“The voters from the Third Congressional District deserve to hear from both candidates on the clear differences between the two of us,” Pace said in the release. “I think it’s fair to ask my opponent to debate and address his positions and votes with me for the people of the Third Congressional District. The district is one of the largest in the country, and I have agreed to numerous debates in order to maximize the information voters receive on this important race.”

Not only is the district one of the nation’s largest, sprawling across the western half of Colorado, it is also one of the most competitive.

“I question why my opponent has yet to agree to any debates — is it his votes to cut Medicare to give multimillionaires additional tax breaks?” Pace asked. “Is it his voting record putting his ‘friends’ over working, Colorado families of the Third District? Either way, the voters deserve to hear us debate our positions and values.”

An email and phone message left for Tipton’s spokesman was not immediately returned.

If a debate between Pace and Tipton were to happen, there would be much to discuss.

With four and a half months to go before the election, Tipton has been dogged with a campaign violation, revelation that a “sham front group” gave him an award, an investigation and apology to a House ethics committee and accusations that he selectively informed Republicans and mining industry interests about a public meeting over a wilderness proposal in the San Juans while excluding others.

Records filed Friday show Tipton holds a fundraising lead over Pace. He has raised $1,420,544 and has $928,215 cash on hand compared to $983,854 and $614,000, respectively, for Pace.

Troy Hooper covers environmental policy for the American Independent News Network. His work has been published in The Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, Huffington Post, San Francisco Weekly, Playboy, New York Post, People and dozens of other publications. Hooper has covered the Winter Olympics in Italy, an extreme ski camp in South America and gone behind the scenes with Hunter S. Thompson on election night in 2004. Born and raised in Boulder, Hooper has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

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