Dave Williams House

In this file photo, state Rep. Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs, argues on the house floor that Republican Hugh McKean should serve as Speaker of the House in place of Democrat Alec Garnett on the first legislative day of the 73rd General Assembly at the Colorado State Capitol on January 13, 2021 in Denver.

State Rep. Dave Williams, one of the most outspoken Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly, announced Tuesday that he's challenging eight-term U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn in next year's GOP primary.

In a combative email to supporters, Williams says he's running, in part, because of his "disgust over the corrupt actions of incumbent Doug Lamborn that are finally being exposed," pointing to a lawsuit filed by a former congressional staffer who claims that Lamborn downplayed safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lamborn has denied the allegations. Last week, the House Committee on Ethics said it's moving ahead with an investigation into the former staffer's accusations.

“Finally, the real Doug Lamborn is being exposed by Congressional investigators, the media, and the courts for the unethical establishment insider he has become in Washington, D.C.," Williams said.

"Our new district deserves a new Congressman with a proven conservative record of always fighting for regular workers and families and never selling out to corrupt D.C. power brokers the way Doug Lamborn already has so many times."

Lamborn has faced primary challenges nearly every time he's run for re-election in the heavily Republican 5th Congressional District, which currently covers El Paso County and neighboring mountain counties. Under boundaries approved last month by an independent redistricting commission, the district shrinks after next year's election to encompass most of El Paso County.

A spokeswoman for Lamborn's re-election campaign declined to comment.

Williams is serving his third term in the state House.

During his tenure in the legislature, Williams said, he's "been a passionate advocate for the working families of Colorado and been an outspoken leader to expose and fix election fraud and to stop illegal immigration."

Added Wiliams: "I’m 100% pro-life and 100% pro-2nd Amendment because both issues are about protecting the innocent from harm.  I’ve never and will never vote for a tax or spending increase because at all levels government is too big and spends too much and I know that not just Democrats but corrupted establishment Republicans are also to blame for the mess our country is in."

Lamborn has been under pressure this year after former President Donald Trump announced in January that the permanent home of U.S. Space Command will be in Huntsville, Alabama, instead of Colorado Springs, which houses the command's temporary headquarters.

Members of Colorado's congressional delegation, led by Lamborn and the state's two Democratic senators, have called for President Joe Biden to review the decision, which they allege was made for political reasons and is under investigation by the Pentagon's inspector general and the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office.

Williams tears into Lamborn in his email to supporters, calling it "a moral necessity" to fire the incumbent.

"Lamborn’s lack of effective leadership and compromised integrity have cost our community dearly over the last 15 years all while he’s been getting rich off the backs of taxpayers who never voted to give him, his wife, nor his kids our tax dollars so they can just help themselves while abusing staff and volunteers who are just trying to save America from the Democrats,” Williams said.

Williams is referencing allegations in a lawsuit filed in May against Lamborn and his congressional office by a former aide who charged he was fired in retaliation after raising concerns about what he characterized as the congressman's "reckless and dangerous" approach to pandemic safety protocols, which led to multiple COVID-19 outbreaks in the office.

The lawsuit also alleges Lamborn had congressional staff perform tasks unrelated to their jobs for Lamborn and his wife, such as buying the couple Christmas and birthday presents and helping move furniture to the Lamborn's vacation home. The aide also accuses Lamborn of letting his adult son live at the Capitol for a time.

Lamborn has denied he did anything wrong, attributing the allegations to a disgruntled former employee.

“For the good of our community and to advance our conservative values against Biden and Pelosi, it’s not just a political necessity to fire Doug Lamborn, it’s a moral necessity as well. While Doug Lamborn may not be ashamed of himself for violating ethics laws or hiding his true RINO voting record, the rest of us are," Williams said in the email.

"I won’t stand by and allow him to corrupt our new district too because authentic Christian leadership means serving others above self and not letting failed, say-anything politicians like Doug Lamborn get away with taking advantage of the rest of us."

This summer, Williams was one of the leaders of an unsuccessful bid to cancel next year's GOP primary election and instead pick party nominees at Republican assemblies. He argued that allowing unaffiliated voters to cast ballots in Colorado's semi-open primary system has produced watered-down Republican nominees, damaging the party's prospects with voters.

Republican central committee members shot down the proposal by a two-to-one margin.

Lamborn was first elected to the seat in 2006 after winning a nasty, six-way primary with 27% of the vote. Since then, he's survived five primary elections, most recently in 2018 when four Republicans made the ballot, including former El Paso County Commissioner and 2016 U.S. Senate nominee Darryl Glenn and former state Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs.

Two Republicans have already declared candidacies in the district, which has never sent a Democrat to the U.S. House, but so far neither has made much of a splash. Rebecca Keltie, a member of the John Birch Society, reported raising about $250 through Sept. 30 and had about $3,000 in the bank after loaning her campaign some money. Political newcomer Christopher Mitchell has yet to report any fundraising.

Lamborn had about $450,000 in the bank at the end of the third quarter.

Three Democrats and two unaffiliated candidates are also running in the district. Michael Christopher Colombe, Jeremy Dowell and S. David Goenga-Torres are seeking the Democratic nomination, while Marcus Murphy and Ryan Casey Thompson are unaffiliated hopefuls.

This developing story has been updated.

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