U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn launches bid for reelection, weighs petitioning onto primary ballot
Author: Ernest Luning - January 10, 2018 - Updated: January 10, 2018
Calling himself a “proven and reliable conservative” and a friend of the Trump administration, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn made it official Tuesday: the Colorado Springs Republican is running for a seventh term representing the 5th Congressional District.
Lamborn, who is facing three primary challengers, is considering whether to petition for a spot on the June primary ballot or attempt to qualify through the caucus and assembly process, a campaign spokesman told Colorado Politics.
“I’m honored to serve the people of the 5th CD as their voice and representative in Washington,” Lamborn said in a statement.
“At this point in history I believe I’m best situated to guide our nation toward a better and brighter future. I’m a proven and reliable conservative, a supporter and friend of the Trump administration, and have an extensive and deep network of highly-effective relationships, both in Washington and here in Colorado. I know our values and I have a strong record leading national issues with conservative success. It would be a privilege to work hard for the people of the 5th C.D. to continue those conservative successes into the 116th Congress.”
Lamborn has only made it to Congress once without facing a primary, and this year is business as usual. His challengers include state Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn and former Texas judge Bill Rhea. Another Republican, Colorado Springs Councilman Tom Strand, withdrew from the primary race last month.
The Colorado secretary of state’s office has approved a petition format for Lamborn, enabling his campaign to start gathering signatures on Jan. 16. If he decides to go that route, he’ll need 1,000 valid signatures from registered Republicans in the district and has until March 20 to turn them in.
The caucus-assembly route requires winning the support of at least 30 percent of GOP delegates who start the selection process at March 6 precinct caucus and convene for the district assembly in mid-April.
Hill told Colorado Politics he intends to pursue both methods toward the June 26 ballot.
“I’m committed to engaging with as many voters as I can across the district,” he said. “I don’t believe that money should buy your way onto the ballot or allow you to bypass committed constituents.” He added that every community across the district “should have a voice” in its representative so he plans to go through caucuses while also “walking the streets of every hometown in CD-5.”
Glenn, the GOP’s U.S. Senate nominee two years ago, told Colorado Politics he plans to petition onto the ballot. Rhea didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Two years ago, Lamborn came within a whisker of losing the nomination outright at the Republican district assembly, when 32-year-old activist Calandra Vargas held Lamborn to 35 percent support, with just 18 votes to spare over the 30 percent he needed to advance to the primary. He won handily in the primary, however, with 68 percent of the vote.
Lamborn has gotten on the primary ballot by petition before — including when he faced two GOP opponents for his first reelection bid in 2008 and said he wasn’t confident El Paso County Republicans could handle the assembly. In 2012, when challenger Robert Blaha decided to petition his way onto the ballot, however, Lamborn said the move demonstrated his rival’s weakness among party loyalists and said he doubted “the people of Colorado can be bought so easily.”
Democrats Betty Ann Field and Stephany Rose Spaulding are seeking their party’s nomination.
The heavily Republican district includes El Paso, Chaffee, Freemont and Teller counties and portions of Park County. It’s only been represented by Republicans in the nearly 50 years since it was created.
Lamborn sits on the Armed Services Committee, where he will rank eighth in seniority among Republicans if reelected. He also serves on the Natural Resources Committee and chairs its Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans.
He was first elected to Congress in 2006 — winning a nasty six-way primary by fewer than 1,000 votes — after serving 12 years in the Colorado General Assembly. He and his wife of 41 years, Jeanie, live in Colorado Springs. They have five children and four grandchildren.