Colorado congressman Doug Lamborn inched past retired Air Force General Bentley Rayburn in Tuesday’s Republican primary election, notching just 52 percent of the vote, and his general election opponent, Democrat Irv Halter, another retired Air Force general, is seizing on the opportunity to woo those disaffected Republican voters.
In the primary, Rayburn hammered Lamborn as an out-of-touch and ineffective career politician more interested in scoring political points than passing good policy. Halter, a conservative but unabashed Democrat running in the state’s most conservative district, hit Lamborn hard today with an open letter his campaign says it’s sending to Republicans throughout the district. Halter picks up where the Rayburn campaign left off.
“Your current Congressman has been a professional politician for over 20 years,” Halter wrote. “He has become comfortable and complacent in Washington. Serving in elected office for over half of his adult life was not what our founders intended.
“He spent the primary election running a negative campaign against his opponent whom I am proud to call a colleague and friend. Bentley Rayburn and I both went to the Academy and served in the Air Force for over 30 years. Together, like so many in this district, we put our lives on the line in service to our nation. In a debate, Congressman Lamborn said that General Rayburn had been ‘AWOL.’ It shows he has no respect for true service to country.”
Lamborn has had to battle back challenges to his seat every election since he won it in 2007. Political watchers suspected this year that Lamborn could suffer the same humiliating fate as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor did weeks ago in Virginia and lose the seat in a primary. Rayburn has run against Lamborn in the past and, as soon as he announced he aimed to try to unseat Lamborn again this year, Lamborn loaned his reelection campaign $100,000.
The Colorado Springs Gazette reported that Lamborn had $200,224 cash on hand after spending $192,000 in the primary and that Halter had $265,000 to spend at the pre-primary reporting deadline.