FORT COLLINS — As expected, Democrat Angie Paccione will mount a campaign to unseat Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave in 2006.
Paccione, a state legislator from Fort Collins, formed an exploratory committee June 3 to look into whether she’d be a viable candidate in the 4th Congressional District, which covers most of eastern Colorado and includes Longmont and Larimer and Weld counties.
On Friday, Paccione said Musgrave’s lack of leadership in Congress pushed her to announce her bid.
She also said she’s seen widespread support across the sprawling district, which has remained in Republican hands for decades.
Paccione criticized Musgrave’s recent support of relaxing the Davis-Bacon Act, a 74-year-old law that sets a minimum wage for federally funded construction projects.
“(The act) allows us to rebuild (the Gulf Coast) on the cheap without high quality,” Paccione said. “We want to rebuild stronger and better.”
Guy Short, Musgrave’s chief of staff, said relaxing the Davis-Bacon Act will “create jobs in the coastal region and get the rebuilding started quickly.”
He said Paccione is “more concerned about labor union support and less concerned about the people in the Gulf Coast region.”
Paccione plans a grass-roots campaign. But she also said she needs to raise a lot of money to counteract Musgrave’s attack advertisements.
“I saw the last two races and what her campaign did to Stan Matsunaka,” she said. “They were strong, hard and vicious.”
Short said the advertisements in the 2002 election were vicious, but more so against Musgrave.
“It was Time magazine that called the ads running against Congresswoman Musgrave the sleaziest ads in America,” he said. “We hope Angie doesn’t go down that same road.”
While state Rep. Wes McKinley of Walsh, also a Democrat, said he was considering a campaign, Paccione said she doesn’t expect a Democratic primary race in 2006.
Short said Musgrave will look forward to the race in 2006 with Paccione as her opponent.
“It looks like the Democrats couldn’t get any of their first-string candidates to run,” Short said. “Angie is probably the most liberal candidate they could have nominated.”
Paccione’s run for U.S. Congress opens up the state House District 53 seat in Fort Collins, which she won in 2002.
“We’re going to recruit a very strong candidate to run in House District 53,” Paccione said. “I feel a real sense of obligation and commitment to the people in the Statehouse.”