Depending on whom you ask, the November election for Colorado’s 5th Congressional District is either about maintaining momentum or pulling the emergency brake.

Many find it difficult to believe that U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn will lose his seat in the conservative bastion that serves El Paso, Teller, Chaffee and Fremont counties and part of Park County. His opponent, however — Democrat Stephany Spaulding — has gained more steam than past challengers.

At play, the candidates say, are key votes on the country’s security, health care services, social justice issues and economic viability. Of course, the seat also plays a part in the Republican Party’s quest to retain a majority in the House of Representatives.

Spaulding’s run certainly qualifies as a long shot. Though she gathered more primary votes than other Democrats who have sought the seat, held by Lamborn since 2006, she has raised a fraction of the money Lamborn has and spent even less, according to campaign finance records filed with the Federal Election Commission.

If she were elected, Spaulding would be the first Democrat, the first woman and the first African-American to hold the seat.

As the district’s representative, Lamborn said he’s pleased to partner with President Donald Trump.

“Together, we’ve improved the American economy and fully funded the military,” he said.

A “historic” tax overhaul enacted last year has created thousands of jobs, Lamborn said, noting that he wants to protect and bolster businesses and the middle class in the district by lowering taxes and bringing more jobs to the area.

Top additional priorities, Lamborn said, include protecting pro-life causes.

“It means protecting your family from government overreach,” he said. “I will be a stalwart in defending the Constitution and upholding conservative values in Washington.”

Job creation also is a priority of Spaulding’s, she said. A portion of that mission is building opportunities to retrain employees for 21st-century jobs.

She also has said she wants to expand broadband services to rural areas so workers could telecommute and businesses could connect to the outside world, expanding job growth outside of the 5th District’s more densely populated areas.

If elected, Spaulding said, she would build consensus for policy solutions like “incentivizing the development of affordable, quality housing; investing in public school excellence that’s not one-size-fits-all; and strengthening our health care system so that no one fears they are one illness away from medical or financial crisis.”

Frustration and cynicism have only grown locally and nationally, Spaulding said, and re-electing Lamborn would only continue or worsen that trend.

“We need a leader who has a reputation for hard work, integrity and putting people before politics,” she said. “The incumbent has had 12 years to master these skills but the learning curve has proven to be too steep. It’s long past time for our region to realize its full potential and for our citizens to regain trust in their representatives in Congress.”

Lamborn, however, argues that Spaulding — if elected — would undermine Trump’s “pro-growth agenda.”

“That means higher taxes, increase regulatory burden, and reduced defense spending which would stifle economic development in our community,” he said. “We’ve seen many great things happen over the past year as a result of a Republican-led House, Senate, and White House and we must keep Republican majorities.”

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