Scott Tipton, left, and Sal Pace, who are both seeking Colorado’s Third Congressional District seat in Novembers election, traded barbs last week after their first debate. Their next debate is slated for Sept. 8.

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Scott Tipton, left, and Sal Pace, who are both seeking Colorado’s Third Congressional District seat in Novembers election, traded barbs last week after their first debate. Their next debate is slated for Sept. 8.

Candidates launch attacks after Alamosa debate

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Earlier this month two candidates squared off in the first public debate for the Third Congressional District of Colorado at Adams State University in Alamosa.

Congressman Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, and challenger Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, are not scheduled for a rematch until next month, but that didn’t prevent their camps from trading barbs last week.

The volley started Wednesday when Vestas Wind Systems, a wind turbine manufacturer, announced it would lay off 20 percent of its 450 employees at its tower plant in Pueblo.

In a company statement, Vestas officials blamed Congress’ failure to extend the production tax credit for the layoffs.

Congress stands in recess for the month of August and on Wednesday Tipton attended an Aspen fundraiser with Speaker of the House John Boehner.

“Congressman Tipton should use his audience with Speaker Boehner today to help save Colorado jobs,” Pace said in a Wednesday news release. “Because of Congress’ inaction on the production tax credit, Coloradans are unnecessarily being laid off.

“I challenge Congressman Tipton to ask Speaker Boehner today to reconvene Congress immediately to take a vote to extend the production tax credit.”

On Thursday the Tipton campaign fired back, refuting Pace’s claims of being a pro-business, pro-taxpayer Democrat.

During the Alamosa debate Tipton criticized Pace for supporting the FASTER tax, which raised taxes $250 million on Coloradans renewing their automobile registration.

Pace defended his vote on FASTER by citing his Colorado Union of Taxpayers rating.

CUT ranks members of the Colorado General Assembly on key votes aimed at keeping taxes low for individuals and businesses.

Pace said he had the third highest CUT rating among state house Democrats in 2010, a 20 percent score out of 100.

Pace’s 2009 through 2012 CUT average is 15.77 percent, according to a Tipton for Congress news release.

Comparatively, Tipton scored 73 and 91 percent CUT rankings during his two sessions in the Colorado legislature, according to the release.

“When will Sal Pace stop misleading the voters and own up to his record of raising taxes at every opportunity?” said Michael Fortney, Tipton’s campaign manager. “A 15 percent lifetime rating is a failing grade. Sal claims that he is pro small business and supports job creators, but his record says the complete opposite.

“Sal has a lot to explain to Colorado voters, he cannot reinvent his record just because he decided to run for Congress.”

The candidates are slated to debate again Sept. 8 at Club 20 in Grand Junction.

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