Hot Sheet

In Pueblo, Diane Mitsch Bush lays out plan to flip CD-3

Author: Kara Mason - March 26, 2018 - Updated: March 27, 2018

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Diane Mitsch Bush, Democratic contender faces off with U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. (Colorado Politics file photo)

PUEBLO — If Democrats are going to flip Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, Diane Mitsch Bush is clear in that she’s not doing it the way other candidates have tried in the past.

The former Steamboat Springs state legislator told a group of voters in Pueblo on Friday that she has a track record of getting elected in pockets of the state where Democrats are the underdogs, and she doesn’t plan on ending her losing streak now, even as U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton has effortlessly defeated Democratic opponents for his seat since being elected in 2008.

She also said she doesn’t believe the “blue wave” everybody thinks is coming is a sure bet way into office in the district. It’s going to take a lot of work, she said.

Most notably, Bush is focusing much of her campaign on the economy of the district. In her meet and greet at the Pueblo County Democratic Headquarters, she told a dozen or so potential-supporters that “(Republicans) are making an economy that doesn’t work for the working people.”

Unions, which at one time were a cornerstone of Colorado’s Steel City, built the middle class, she continued.

The campaign is already obviously different from 2016, when the race between Tipton and Gail Schwartz narrowed in on public lands and oil and gas — neither of which have become major voter issues in purple-tinged Pueblo.

Then, Tipton won 52 percent of the vote in Pueblo, where Trump also scraped by with the majority after promises of returning to economic prosperity. The rust belt city that had a first row seat to a collapsing steel industry in the 1980s, and has since had difficulty bouncing back, listened. And Bush hopes they will again in 2018.

She said she wants to focus on building an economy that not only thrives for existing businesses, but is attractive for prospective companies too. That’s a piece of the puzzle local leaders are trying to decipher as well, with the Pueblo Economic Development Corporation challenging itself to adding 500 primary jobs each year in recent years.

Opposite to President Donald Trump’s campaign promise — and recurring rally — of “making America great again” Bush lays out a rough strategy as to how to rebuild the middle class in CD3, which tends to lag behind Denver and the state average in wages. She said she wants proper investment in infrastructure.

“That was a small glimmer of hope,” Bush said of Trump’s talk of an infrastructure plan. But ultimately, the candidate said the plan won’t help places like CD3 because of reverse cost sharing.

To change the course of the country and district, Bush told the audience voters will have to make Democrats the majority, but those who dipped in for lunch with the candidate were clear they don’t believe having Democrats in control will solve the woes they have in the current administration.

“The worst thing we could possibly do is do what they (Republicans) do,” Bush said — another major campaign point of hers has been the number of bills she had in the state legislature that were co-sponsored by Republicans.

When asked about how she could win this race this time, Bush said she trying to get younger voters, highlighting outreach on social media and hiring a 26-year-old communications director.

“I think there is more momentum to flip CD3 this time,” she said. “It’s the year of the woman and the blue wave is coming.”

Kara Mason

Kara Mason

Kara Mason covers southern Colorado, Aurora and statewide issues for ColoradoPolitics.com. She also writes for the Aurora Sentinel.