When I spoke to the Cortez 912 group recently, I was asked very pointedly, why should we vote for you instead of Scott Tipton? I realized that this is a legitimate question which requires a specific answer. My answer is no less important than when I am asked about getting our economy back on track, or immigration, or the 10thAmendment. I owe you an answer, beyond what I have said in the past about running with Scott, against John Salazar, and letting you choose the best candidate. I owe you an answer which respects Ronald Reagan's Eleventh Commandment - never attack another Republican. I believe there are clear factual differences between Scott and myself in five areas-our backgrounds, personalities, motivation, use of resources and record in this race.
Background: On his website, Scott says he has been involved in politics since he was seven years old. He has worked in various campaigns including Scott McGinnis', he has been the Republican district chair, and he is in the state legislature now. Scott has run for this seat before. He is proud of his service to the Party, and rightfully so. I have never been involved in politics, except as a voter. I have never run for political office. My full bio is on my website. I have been a leader all my adult life. I have led men in battle and on expeditions to the most remote places on earth. I have led search and rescue teams, and ambulance crews. I have been a leader in my community, and in my church. Scott has "paid his dues" to the Party. I have "paid my dues" to the country we both love. We are both proud of what we have accomplished.
I am a combat veteran, and have intimate knowledge of the issues veterans face. Like Scott, I have owned and operated a small business - a wilderness outfitting operation as well as a small law practice. We are both familiar with the challenges of running a small business. Some say because I am a lawyer - a "recovering" lawyer by my own admission - I should not be allowed to represent you. Actually, my litigation experience gives me first hand knowledge of how lawyers think and operate. They do not intimidate me, and I am no longer part of that club.
Personality: I don't know Scott well; however, everyone tells me he is a nice guy. People who know me will tell you I am hard-headed, determined, that I will stand up for what I believe in regardless of the odds, that I don't tolerate bullies and I am a good man to have covering your back when the going gets tough. Few would call me a "nice guy." My candidacy is about moving beyond the same old ways, the same old politics. I won't sign on to compromises that may help me at your expense. When the old bulls on Capitol Hill say to me, McConnell we'll give you this if you give us that I will remind them that is yesterday's politics, and my constituents didn't send me to Washington to preserve the status quo. I want to go to Washington and take back the rights we trusted to people we now know we can't trust. I want to go to Washington to raise hell. That is part of your choice: a proven fighter or a nice guy.
Motivation: I am in this race because I am angry. I am angry that our country, our very way of life is being dismantled before our eyes. I am angry that both political parties have let us down. I will not stand by and let this happen without a fight. My anger is not a negative force; it is constructive, focused on building bridges to like-minded leaders so that the sum of our efforts can be greater than our parts.
Early on after I announced, I asked a young man I had met several times if he would work for my campaign. He told me that he was supporting Scott Tipton. I was curious because this was well before Scott had announced. He told me that Scott would decide whether to enter the race, based on whether or not financial support developed.
Apparently, that support came and Scott entered the race when he knew he had that backing. I didn't worry about money, or who might support my decision to serve. Obviously, Scott is much more experienced than I am in the way politics works. But I believe something new is afoot in our country. It is not about the size of a campaign war chest; it is about the power of ideas and the passion of our citizens to direct the path we will follow. I believe that as people come to know me, the direction of my campaign, the quality of my judgment and leadership, they will see me as the best candidate to defeat John Salazar.
Use of Resources: Though I appreciate all contributions, I am not running my campaign on your money; I am running on my own money because I am committed to defeating John Salazar. I pay for my gas, meals and motels. I will continue to do that as long as I can, without going in debt, to show you how determined I am to defeat Salazar in November. I accept every dollar as a sacred trust and will not accept anything except private contributions before the primary is over. While I have been on television, radio, and in the news I have not and will not pay for TV or radio until after the primary is over. I know Scott has been running TV ads in the Grand Junction area at least since early December. People who contribute to my campaign can trust their money will be used in the fight against John Salazar.
Endorsements and Record: Let's say what needs to be said. Scott lost to John Salazar once already, by a wide margin. I have been endorsed by two grassroots tea party organizations comprised of highly informed, motivated citizens. These endorsements came after people heard me speak passionately about their concerns. The head of the state GOP has applauded my vision of uniting the Tea Parties and the Republican Party. I am the candidate who can unite those forces.
I propose that Scott and I have three debates before the caucuses. The voters are entitled to see both Republican candidates answering the same questions at the same time. Debate is a proven form of testing a candidate's mettle. I hope Scott will take me up on this, in the spirit of doing what's best for the Third Congressional District.
This is how I see the differences between Scott Tipton and myself. As we are told in Corinthians, only one can win the race, so run to win. I am determined to win this race, and be proud of how I win. You are in the enviable position of having to choose. Scott and I are different candidates and will be different representatives. Choose wisely, because failure is not an option.
Rangers Lead The Way!