The 3rd Congressional District’s Republican incumbent, Scott Tipton, defeated Democratic challenger Diana Mitsch Bush on Tuesday in what was considered one of the most competitive races in Colorado this year.
With 100 percent of counties reporting, Tipton had 51.80 percent of the vote to Mitsch Bush’s 43.38 percent. In Montezuma County, 59.07 percent went for for Tipton, and 36.22 percent for Mitsch Bush.
“The 3rd District has been my home all of my life, and I’m honored to have earned the opportunity to continue representing Colorado in the United States Congress,” Tipton said in a statement Tuesday evening.
“We’ve achieved many positive reforms for the 3rd District, but there is still work to do, and I plan to continue working hard every day during the next two years to improve the lives of every resident in the 3rd District,” Tipton said.
The district, which covers most of the Western Slope and the San Luis Valley before curving northeast into Pueblo County, had been viewed by some as a potential Democratic pickup if the much-ballyhooed blue wave was big enough.
After the 6th Congressional District, where Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman was defeated by first-time candidate Jason Crow, the 3rd was expected to be the most competitive district in the state. Two of Colorado’s other House seats are solidly Republican and three favor Democrats.
Tipton, a Cortez native, cast his opponent as too liberal for the sprawling 3rd District. Tipton pushed out John Salazar, the last Democrat to represent the district, in 2010 by repeating a line about how often Salazar’s vote aligned with then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s policies.
The race was more of an uphill battle for Mitsch Bush. The longtime Steamboat Springs resident’s campaign managers acknowledged their candidate would need more than the palpable Democratic enthusiasm to carry her across the finish line. To win, she’d need the majority of unaffiliated voters and probably a few Republicans, too.
Mitsch Bush is a former Routt County commissioner and state legislator with a Ph.D. in sociology.
Tipton said Mitsch Bush was too liberal for the district, using her support for what he called “socialized medicine” and her wavering on the proposed natural gas pipeline from Jordan Cove to the Oregon coast as examples.