By Daniel Smith
The political season usually gets in gear in March of election years with local caucuses, district and state assemblies as well as primary balloting to determine who gets on the November election ballot.
In the Fifth Congressional District, thus far there are three Democrats and three Republicans lined up to challenge Republican incumbent Doug Lamborn. More candidates are possible before the March 20 filing deadline.
The Democrats include Stephanie Rose Spaulding, a Colorado College professor and pastor; Betty Field, a former non-profit director and local activist; and Lori Furstenberg, a recent candidate who is a retail store owner. All are relative political newcomers and residents of Colorado Springs, seat of the lion’s share of district influence because of its population size.
The Republican challengers consist of more politically experienced candidates, including State Senator Owen Hill, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, Bill Rhea, a former Texas district judge and missionary, and Lamborn, the ten-year incumbent.
Hill is considered a rising force in the GOP ranks while Glenn ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Senator Michael Bennet last election cycle.
Rhea describes himself as the “distinctly centrist” Republican candidate for the congressional race.
Lamborn is a hard-core Republican in a majority GOP district that is considered “safe” in some political assessments, but he has faced primary challengers often before, and even criticism from within his own party ranks.
Lamborn stood in opposition to the creation of Browns Canyon National Monument, stating at the time of the debate over the decade-long local effort to preserve the area that all interests, including extractive industries and ranchers, had not been fully represented.