Tom Tancredo State of State

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Republican, enjoys breakfast before attending then-Gov. John Hickenlooper's State of the State address on Jan. 11, 2018, at the state Capitol in Denver.

Calling her a "principled, no-nonsense patriot," former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo on Monday endorsed fellow Republican Lauren Boebert, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in a primary.

The immigration hardliner who served five terms in Congress said in a radio ad obtained by Colorado Politics that Boebert, the pistol-packing owner of Shooters Grill in Rifle, "has the same fight in her that I brought to Washington."

Tancredo says that Boebert "will help President Trump build the wall" and "will help drain the swamp," though Trump last month endorsed Tipton, a co-chair of the president's re-election campaign in Colorado.

The ad also touts Boebert's well-publicized confrontation with Beto O'Rourke when the Texas Democrat brought his soon-to-be-concluded presidential campaign to Aurora to talk about gun violence in September.

"Lauren Boebert showed up with a Glock on her hip and told Beto O’Rourke, 'Hell no,' he wasn’t taking our guns," Tancredo says.

Boebert's campaign said the radio ad featuring Tancredo's endorsement will air on Pueblo and Grand Junction stations starting Tuesday.

Tipton has fended off primary challengers by overwhelming margins since he was first elected in 2010 in the sprawling 3rd Congressional District, which covers most of the Western Slope, Pueblo County and the San Luis Valley.

Like Tipton's previous challengers, Boebert is coming at the incumbent from the right, claiming he isn't conservative enough.

"Now she’s taking on Scott Tipton, because Scott Tipton keeps voting with Democrats," Tancredo says in the ad. "Scott Tipton and Nancy Pelosi handed amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. Then Scott Tipton voted to give them a billion dollars of our taxpayer money. This has to stop."

Tancredo is referring to Tipton's Dec. 11 vote in favor of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which passed the Democratic-controlled House with 34 Republican votes. 

The legislation, which is languishing in the GOP-controlled Senate, creates a path for certain immigrant agricultural workers to establish legal residency in an approach Tipton said "modernizes the process which migrant workers use to enter the U.S. legally."

Boebert disagrees, characterizing Tipton's vote as "hand[ing] amnesty to 1 million illegal immigrants."

Three Democrats are running in a primary in the district: former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs, who lost a race against Tipton two years ago; former seafood executive James Iacino, who recently moved from Denver to Montrose; and Durango activist Root Routledge.

The primary election is June 30. Candidates could get an indication about their level of support among party activists at precinct caucuses on March 7.

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