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Colorado House Minority Leader Sal Pace (D) announced Tuesday he is challenging Rep. Scott Tipton (R) next year in the 3rd district.

Pace served as district director for former Rep. John Salazar, who held the seat from 2004 until he was defeated by Tipton last year.

According to the Associated Press, Pace said in an announcement letter to supporters Tuesday that the 3rd district has a “long history of congressmen who are less concerned with partisan bickering and more concerned with finding solutions.”

Pace’s announcement had been expected since House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) visited the state two weeks ago. Hoyer told the press then that he did not need to convince Pace to run. He said he also talked with state Senate President Brandon Shaffer about running in the 4th district against freshman Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

In response to his entrance to the race, the National Republican Congressional Committee said Pace would support “reckless spending and soaring taxes” and be another of House Minority Leader “Nancy Pelosi’s hand-picked puppets.”

The exact lines of the district may not be known for months, as the state Legislature was unable to agree on a map and both parties filed lawsuits in state court.

The current make-up of the expansive 3rd district has allowed it to swing between the two parties in recent years. Salazar won the seat following former Rep. Scott McInnis’s (R) retirement. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won it by just 2 points in the 2008 presidential election.

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