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Tipton Joins Race Against Salazar

Colorado state Rep. Scott Tipton (R) announced Monday that he will challenge three-term Rep. John Salazar (D) in 2010.

“With encouragement from people around our district — Republicans, Democrats, unaffiliated voters — I am entering the race to represent the 3rd Congressional district of Colorado,— Tipton said in a statement Monday.

Tipton criticized actions the Democratic-run Congress has taken during the first nine months of the Obama administration ­— including a health care bill that the House narrowly passed over the weekend with Salazar’s support.

Tipton said that “John Salazar’s vote and active participation in forcing government health care on the American people serves as a call to action for us all. His support for a bigger and more intrusive federal government concerns me and people throughout our district.—

Salazar’s campaign couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

Tipton’s 2010 campaign will be his second attempt at unseating Salazar, who trounced Tipton by 25 points when they squared off in the 2006 election.

Tipton was elected to the state House in 2008 from a district in the southwestern part of the state. The same year, Republicans didn’t aggressively target Salazar, who was re-elected with 62 percent of the vote.

Tipton probably becomes the front-runner in a Republican primary that includes Martin Beeson, a county district attorney, and Bob McConnell, a retired lawyer and Army officer.

Salazar was first elected in 2004 to represent the 3rd district, which takes in vast areas of western and southern Colorado, including the cities of Pueblo and Grand Junction. In the 2008 presidential election, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) defeated Barack Obama (D) 50 percent to 48 percent.

Salazar had $719,000 in his campaign account as October began.

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