There will be at least a three-way Republican race to replace U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner in the 4th Congressional District.
And two incumbent GOP congressmen will face challengers. Rep. Scott Tipton will have a primary challenge in the 3rd CD on the state’s Western Slope and San Luis Valley. And Rep. Doug Lamborn is being challenged in Colorado Springs’ 5th CD.
Candidates for the 4th CD emphasized pro-gun, pro-life, faith and liberty credentials in speeches before some 700 delegates and alternatives Friday morning at the state GOP Assembly.
Gardner is running for the nomination for U.S. Senate at Saturday’s state assembly meeting, hoping to challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall. Sen. Randy Baumgardner is vying against Gardner for the Republican nomination.
In the 4th CD, state Sen. Scott Renfroe took the top line on the June 24 primary ballot with 54 percent of the delegate vote, while 2010 U.S. Senate candidate and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck received 46 percent of the vote.
Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer was nominated and spoke to delegates, then withdrew her nomination saying she believes her 1,600 signatures will put her on the ballot.
That drew a jeer from the audience: “She shouldn’t have been allowed to speak! She’s making a mockery of the process!”
That was followed by “Shut up, Dudley!”
Dudley Brown, executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, later confirmed he shouted after Kirkmeyer’s speech. RMGO has endorsed Renfroe in the race.
Weld County Sheriff John Cook nominated Renfroe, followed by three GOP lawmakers, Renfroe’s pastor, his wife and his daughter.
Renfroe emphasized his activity in the legislature opposing 2013 gun control efforts and his support for a personhood amendment, which has been defeated twice by Colorado voters and will be on the ballot again this fall.
“Our government doesn’t trust us,” he said. “I’ll be a strong voice for liberty.”
Kirkmeyer noted her experience as a county commissioner in a county that doesn’t have a sales tax, has a balanced budget and refunds money to taxpayers, as well as being the only candidate with an agricultural background. She also voiced her support for personhood, the Second Amendment and fracking.
“I will never compromise when it comes to protecting the liberty of our country,” she said.
At the conclusion of her speech, she withdrew her nomination and released her delegates, drawing Brown’s rebuke. In the past, the Republican Party only allows speeches from candidates who go through the assembly process or who plan to petition onto the ballot if they get 10 percent of the assembly vote.
Buck was nominated by his wife, state Rep. Perry Buck. She noted that he’s supported by Phyllis Schlafley who, she said, “knows that Ken is going to fight for life forever for the unborn child.” Perry Buck also noted her husband’s support from gun rights groups. And a pastor led a prayer as Buck’s final nominator, asking God to “be with all the candidates, especially Ken Buck.”
But Buck didn’t mention those issues. Instead, he vowed, if elected to end Obamacare and to enforce immigration law and strengthen the borders. Gardner endorsed Buck in the race.
“I will vote to repeal Obamacare,” Buck said. If elected, he said, “I will not take an oath to the Republican Party. I will take an oath to the Constitution of the United States of America.”
A fourth candidate, Steven Laffey, also submitted petition signatures to make the ballot for the 4th CD race. The Secretary of State has yet to determine if petitions from Kirkmeyer and Laffey will qualify them for the ballot.
Democrat Victor Meyers is also running in the 4th CD.
In the 3rd Congressional District, Tipton’s challenger, David Cox, received 34 percent if the delegate vote compared with Tipton’s 66 percent. Among other things, Cox called for President Barack Obama’s impeachment in his nomination speech.
Former state Sen. Abel Tapia, a Democrat, and independent candidate Tisha Casida are also running in the 3rd CD.
In the 5th Congressional District, Ret. Maj. Gen. Bentley Rayborn is challenging Lamborn for the third time, making the primary ballot with 37 percent of the delegate vote compared to Lamborn’s 63 percent. The winner of the 5th CD primary will face Democrat Ret. Maj. Gen. Irv Halter in the Nov. 4 general election.
And in the 2nd Congressional District, former Boulder County GOP chairman George Leing was nominated to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Polis. He received 74 percent of the vote, meaning neither of his two opponents received the necessary 30 percent.
Parking lots and hallways overflowed at the Omni Interlocken Hotel in Broomfield Friday, and crowds are expected at Coors Events Center in Boulder Saturday.
Early Friday, assembly officials noted that concealed handguns wouldn’t be allowed at Coors Saturday. But party Chairman Ryan Call told the 3rd CD assembly that Republican regents clarified that concealed guns would be allowed at the center on the University of Colorado Boulder campus.
Saturday’s assembly will focus on nominees for U.S. Senate; the governor’s race, with five candidates seeking the nomination; and the attorney general’s race, in which two candidates are competing to make the ballot.