The first public shots have been fired in the Republican primary for House District 19. House Majority Leader Amy Stephens, R-Monument is challenging incumbent state Rep. Marsha Looper, R-Calhan, for her seat. And the gauntlet was officially thrown down on Saturday.
During a meeting of HD 19 district committee members, Stephens and Looper went at each other, leaving behind the polite press releases and niceties that had characterized the campaign until Saturday.
Stephens said misinformation was being spread about her, and said afterward that Looper’s “people” had been making phone calls to district Republicans, saying that Stephens was “pro-abortion,” and even supported third-trimester abortions.
“It borders on character assassination. I know it, you know it, Marsha knows it, and we’ve got to call an end to that nonsense. Too many Republicans have been slandered way too much,” Stephens told the HD 19 members.
Looper directly attacked Stephens’s controversial health care bill passed last year, “Amycare,” and called it “one of the most dangerous bills passed in Colorado.”
“Senate Bill 200 needs to be repealed. It ushered in Obamacare and it needs to go,” Looper said, to much applause.
Looper reminded the crowd of all the bills she’s run to protect water rights and property rights, and dropped former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo’s name. Tancredo was a national leader in the campaign against illegal immigration.
“Tom Tancredo endorsed me, because I ran legislation that was very close to his legislation,” Looper said.
She also pointed out Stephens’ poor rating from the Colorado Union of Taxpayers. Though she didn’t mention numbers, Stephens got a 50 percent rating in 2011 from CUT, while Looper got a 77 percent rating.
“The facts are the facts,” Looper said.
After the speeches, Stephens called Looper a hypocrite and a flip-flopper, because she changed her mind on supporting civil unions and voted for a health care bill in 2008 that directed state staff to look into a possible individual mandate to buy health insurance.
“We’re going to start pointing those things out,” Stephens said.
Looper couldn’t be reached immediately for a response to the accusation. I’ll post one as soon as I get it.