Election 2018FeaturedNews

ENDORSEMENT WATCH | Gun-debate groups choose sides in Colorado’s CD3

Author: Ernest Luning - September 27, 2018 - Updated: 38 minutes ago

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Democratic candidate for 3rd Congressional District Diane Mitsch Bush, left, and Republican Congressman Scott Tipton, right, speak during the Club 20 debates at Two Rivers Convention Center on Sept. 8 in Grand Junction. (Chancey Bush/The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel via AP)

Prominent national organizations on both sides of the gun debate are taking sides in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.

The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund this week endorsed U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, the Republican seeking a fifth term, while Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, endorsed former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, the Democrat challenging Tipton.

“Scott Tipton is a champion of our 2nd Amendment freedoms,” said Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA political organization. “As a life-long Coloradan, Scott Tipton has a deep respect for hunting, recreational shooting and our right to keep and bear arms.”

“Voters are ready to elect Diane Mitsch Bush because she will always put protecting their communities over helping the gun lobby make a profit,” said Giffords, who survived a shooting at a constituent event in her district seven years ago, in a statement.

Giffords, a Democrat, was one of 19 people shot outside a grocery store in Tucson in a January 2011 attack that left six dead. She founded the nonprofit — its full name is Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence — along with her husband, combat veteran and retired astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly.

The Giffords group has already endorsed Jason Crow, the Democrat challenging U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in the 6th Congressional District seat, and Joe Neguse, the Democrat running for the 2nd Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee.

> RELATED: Giffords PAC to change anti-Coffman ad that mirrored Colorado school shooting

Here are some of the other Colorado candidate endorsements announced recently:

• The political arm of leading environmentalist advocacy group League of Conservation Voters this week also got behind Mitsch Bush, hailing the former state lawmaker and Routt County commissioner’s work across the aisle.

“Colorado’s 3rd District is home to some of our country’s most incredible public lands,” said LCV Action Fund official Tiernan Sittenfeld in a statement. “Coloradans know a clean environment is vital to healthy communities and a thriving economy from Steamboat Springs to Durango, Grand Junction to Pueblo, and everywhere in between. Diane Mitsch Bush is the only candidate in this race who can be counted on to always stand up for our air, water and public lands and we are thrilled to endorse her campaign.”

• Rocky Mountain Gun Owners SuperPAC endorsed five statehouse candidates it said “support the right to keep and bear arms, without restrictions,” noting that just one Republican-held seat in the narrowly divided state Senate “prevents the passage of extreme gun control.”

The candidates winning RMGO’s backing — all Republicans — are state Sen. Tim Neville in Senate District 16; Tony Sanchez in Senate District 22 ; Grady Nouis in House District 29; Kristina Joy Alley in House District 28; and Steve Szutenbach, who replaced state Rep. Tim Leonard on the ballot in House District 25 after the incumbent dropped his re-election bid in August.

• Service Employees International Union Local 105 and Colorado Workers for Innovative and New Solutions — the union of state employees, known as Colorado WINS — endorsed Polis, in his race for governor against Republican Walker Stapleton, Colorado’s state treasurer, for the seat held by term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper. The unions hailed the Democrat’s decision to sign their Working People’s Platform, which supports working families and their right to organize unions.

“Coloradans need candidates that are willing to speak up for working people and fight for economic and social justice,” said SEIU Local 105 member Mike Howard in a statement. “Polis has shown his support for things like fair wages, affordable healthcare and housing, racial justice, and workers’ right to unionize. Not everyone is benefiting from this so-called economic boom, and we are going to support candidates that understand the critical challenges still facing working families across the state.”

Won an endorsement or handed one out? Let us know at news@coloradopolitics.com.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.