LAKEWOOD, CO — The race for the 7th Congressional district is officially underway. Golden businessman Joe Coors Jr., kicked off his campaign against three-term incumbent Congressman Ed Perlmutter at the Lakewood campus of Red Rocks Community College on Tuesday morning, promising to champion limited government and free enterprise in Congress.
In a standing room only crowd of 250 plus supporters and media types, Coors spoke about the peril of government growth amidst private sector stagnation.”Our economy is growing too slowly,” he said. “The federal government has run a staggering budget deficit well over one trillion dollars for the past three years and projects deficits of that size every year for the next decade. The federal government is digging a hole of debt from which future generations will not be able to climb.”
Coors said if he had behaved in his business career the way the federal government has, he would be talking to the crowd “from behind bars.”
“If you took all the value of public companies traded on every US stock exchange — and the equity of every home in America — you would still have to almost double that number to get the amount of unfunded liabilities the government holds for future generations,” Coors said. “This is unconscionable. I ran a public company. If I did what the federal government is doing, I would be talking to you from behind bars.”
Coors said his campaign will be about “jobs, the economy and responsible government spending.”
Coors’ entry into the race will pit the well-known businessman against Perlmutter, a Member of the House Financial Services Committee who supported the the 2008 bank and auto company bailouts, so-called “card-check” legislation, Obamacare, and the controversial stimulus package. The contrast between the two men’s backgrounds will, Coors said, provide voters with a “distinct choice” between “the expansion of the federal government” and “free enterprise with limited government” in November.
Coors acknowledged the competitive race he has ahead of him, noting “it is not going to be easy, especially taking on [the] incumbent,” who has held political office for nearly twenty years, and will benefit from the financial backing of the Obama White House and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Asked afterwards by The CO Observer how he plans to unseat the three-term Democrat, Coors said “our game plan is to let the public know what his voting record is.” Coors portrayed a disconnect between Perlmutter’s reputation in Colorado and how he votes in Congress, saying “when he gets back to Washington he stabs the district in the back. If his voting record isn’t a sign of that, I don’t know what is.”
Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call said he was “excited” about the candidacy of Coors, calling him “a man of great talent and ability” who has been a pillar of his community. Call said the coming campaign between Coors and Perlmutter “is going to be about the issues — job creation, the economy and drawing a contrast over the direction of the country.”
If the number of video trackers at the event was any sign, Democrats are not taking Coors lightly. Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio released a statement hitting Coors for his personal wealth, while ProgressNow, a left wing attack group, has leveled similar criticisms of the Republican businessman in recent days
Asked by The Denver Post‘s Lynn Bartels if the attacks on him and his family bother him, Coors responded “I’ve got a pretty thick skin.”
Coors is currently the only announced candidate for the Republican nomination. In 2010, Ed Perlmutter defeated Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier in a competitive race. The redistricting process in 2011 made the district slightly more favorable for Republicans.