Tipton bill to protect landowners near federal property wins first approval

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, right, is seen with U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

A campaign spokesman for U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton shrugged off word that the five-term Republican will again be targeted by House Democrats in next year's election.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee included Tipton's 3rd Congressional District on an initial list of 33 battleground seats the campaign group says it will work to "flip from red districts to blue ones" in an effort to expand the majority won by House Democrats in 2018.

"As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense, and we couldn’t agree more – especially with the battlefield that lies before us this election cycle," wrote Illinois U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, chair of the committee, and Allison Jaslow, the DCCC's executive director, in a strategy memo released this week.

"2018 was just the tip of the iceberg for Democrats," Bustos and Jaslow wrote. "Today we are announcing our plan to go on offense and grow our New Democratic Majority. We have a clear path to expanding our Democratic Majority, and by putting our plans in motion earlier in the cycle than ever before, we are demonstrating to Democrats across the country that the political arm of House Democrats is operating in high gear from the start."

Michael Fortney, Tipton's longtime campaign manager, sounded amused when asked for a comment. He responded via text message with the "thumbs up" emoji.

Tipton was named a top DCCC target in 2018, when he fended off a challenge from former state Rep. Diane Mitch Bush by 8 percentage points at the same time Democrats were scoring historic wins across Colorado.

The former state lawmaker from Cortez won his previous bids for re-election by double digits, prevailing by as much as 22 percentage points in 2014.

The sprawling 3rd Congressional District includes most of the Western Slope, Pueblo County and the San Luis Valley. Unaffiliated voters make up 36 percent of the district's active, registered voters, followed by Republicans at 33 percent and Democrats at 28 percent.

Democrats have yet to field a candidate in the district.

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