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Republican Business Owner Andrew Heaton Issues Main Challenge to US Representative Doug Lamborn | Election 2022

Andrew Heaton, Republican business owner and first-time candidate, announced Monday that he is challenging U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn for eight terms in this year’s Republican primary in Colorado’s 5th congressional district.

Describing himself as a “Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan Republican with libertarian leanings,” Heaton told Colorado Politics he was prompted to run because of Lamborn’s inability to hold the U.S. Space Command seat. in Colorado Springs and an ongoing ethics investigation into accusations Lamborn misused official resources. for personal and campaign purposes.

Lamborn, a lawyer and former state legislator consistently ranked as one of the most conservative members of Congress, already faces major challenges from state Rep. Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs; Navy veteran Rebecca Keltie, who ran last cycle as a third-party nominee; and newcomer Christopher Mitchell. Four Democrats and four independent candidates also declared nominations for the heavily Republican seat, which covers most of El Paso County.

Heaton, 41, is president and CEO of Tekniam, a Kansas-based company he founded that makes portable cellular and Wi-Fi equipment. He owns a medical marijuana dispensary and a marijuana grow operation and lab in Colorado Springs, and a vanilla plantation in Tanzania.

“It’s a safe seat. We can’t afford to have empty suits,” Heaton said. “It should be a mighty Republican seat, and anyone in that seat should be a warrior, but this guy lost space command. That was arguably one of the biggest things that was ever going to happen to Colorado Springs. Why didn’t he fight for it?”

Former President Donald Trump decided last year to uproot the command’s temporary operating base from Colorado Springs and build its permanent headquarters in Huntsville, Ala. Lamborn and members of the state’s Democratic delegation called on the Biden administration to reconsider the move.

First elected to the seat in 2006, Lamborn has faced primaries in all but two of his re-election races. He handed in nomination petitions last week and also plans to seek the primary ballot through the assembly process, which begins March 1 with the GOP precinct caucuses in El Paso County. Williams is going the same route, which requires gaining the support of at least 30% of the delegates.

Heaton said his campaign plans to start circulating petitions this week, after the secretary of state’s office approved his petition format on Friday. Keltie and Mitchell present a petition. The petitioners have until March 15 to submit 1,500 signatures from other party members to win a place in the June 28 primary ballot.

Heaton dismissed the combative Williams – Lamborn’s main primary challenger – as “talkative” and said his behavior “harms the Republican Party and the people we need to take us seriously to win the election and take back our nation” .

Williams described Heaton’s announcement as “disappointing for sure” in a text message to Colorado Politics.

“The only candidate he’s helping by jumping in the 11th hour is Doug Lamborn,” Williams said. “Heaton is knowingly or unknowingly acting as a spoiler to help an inefficient and unethical congressman keep his seat.”

Heaton, who grew up in Buena Vista and lived in Colorado Springs until recently – he moved to Douglas County to care for an aging relative and said he plans to move back to the district of Congress if elected – said he thinks most voters in the district share his “live and let live” approach to government.

“I’ve heard people say here in Colorado, ‘Stay out of my wallet and stay out of my bedroom,'” he joked.

“My experience in the mountains of Colorado and in business has taught me that government only makes most problems worse and should just stand up for people’s rights against abuse by others,” Heaton said in a statement. communicated. “We must cherish the West and its natural beauty, but must not cripple our energy infrastructure to do so, and we have the technological capacity to provide both.”

Heaton added, “It should also be the most pro-veteran headquarters in the country, with a nationally recognized lawyer.”

Instead, he said, the district is represented by a backbencher “whom these recent ethics violations have revealed to be more interested in enriching his own household than caring about the interests of the district or its many military families”.

Lamborn argues he will be exonerated when the House Ethics Committee finishes reviewing allegations stemming from a lawsuit filed by a former congressman who claimed Lamborn and key staffers downplayed security concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A campaign spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Heaton’s candidacy.

5th CD is home to one of the nation’s largest military presences, with five military installations and some 40,000 active duty troops, including the Air Force Academy and bases that operate military satellites and control the country’s missile defense and protect the continent from attack.

Heaton’s campaign chairman is retired Major General David Grange, a 30-year-old special forces veteran who is also chairman of Tekniam, the telecommunications company that Heaton runs. Retired Lt. Col. Chris Morris, a former Green Beret, manages Heaton’s campaign.

Lamborn was recently named a Republican on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, a position he says puts him in line to chair the powerful subcommittee if Republicans win a majority in the House. of the United States next year, as it seems increasingly likely. The panel hears legislation regarding nuclear weapons, missile defense and the military mission in space.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with a comment from State Rep. Dave Williams.