State Rep. Don Valdez announced Thursday he's in the race for the U.S. House in Congressional District 3, in the hopes of being the Democratic challenger to Republican freshman Lauren Boebert.
A fifth-generation Coloradan, Valdez is in his third term as a state legislator from La Jara, representing Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Huerfano, Mineral, Pueblo, Rio Grande and Saguache counties.
He is a former Conejos County sheriff's deputy.
Another Democratic legislator, Sen. Kerry Donovan from Vail, also has announced her intention to seek the nomination to take on the controversial incumbent next year.
The field also includes Gregg Harrison Smith of Westcliffe, a former CEO who recently registered as a Democrat; Glenwood Springs attorney and former legislative candidate Colin Wilhelm; and Root Routledge of Durango, who dropped out of the 2020 race before the Democratic primary, when Diane Mitsch Bush became Boebert's general election opponent.
Valdez called himself a farmer and rancher and Boebert a "radical Republican and QAnon supporter."
Boebert indicated support for some of the radical organization's conspiracy theories early in her campaign against five-term Republican Scott Tipton, but she has disavowed membership.
On the first day of the legislative session on Tuesday, Valdez called for an investigation into freshman Rep. Ron Hanks, a Republican from Penrose, who attended the rally with President Trump in Washington, D.C., but did not enter the U.S. Capitol with other protestors.
“What happened on Jan. 6th wasn’t just an attack on the Capitol, it was an outright assault on our democracy," Valdez said in his statement. "They threatened to hang members of Congress (and) murdered a police officer."
He said Boebert "egged them on," a claim Boebert has denied.
He turned to his agenda.
"Being a true steward of the land is in my blood," his announcement stated. "Wild conspiracy theories won’t protect our water, expand rural health care or improve our schools."
He pledged to be a champion for rural Colorado.
“I’m rooted in rural Colorado and its rugged individualism," Valdez stated. "I’ve proven I can win in a rural district and I have a record of putting people first. That’s what I’ll do in Congress.”