U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) announced today on the Richard Randall Show that he will join Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) in not seeking re-election. Lamborn represented Colorado’s 5th Congressional District, consisting of El Paso county, which has long been considered a Republican stronghold.
Lamborn began his political career in 1994, serving in the Colorado House and Senate before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007. Lamborn earned a reputation as a Christian conservative, supporting the Second Amendment and Israel, and opposing abortion and LGBTQ rights.
In 2023, Lamborn supported legislation to repeal the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which prohibits intentional property damage and the use of “force or threat of force or…physical obstruction” to “injure, intimidate or interfere with” someone entering a health care facility, and is most commonly invoked in relation to anti-abortion protests near clinics. Last year, Lamborn also introduced House Resolution 464, “Acknowledging that unborn children are legal and constitutional persons who are entitled to the equal protection of the laws.”
In 2019, Lamborn pushed to defund PBS after an episode of the children’s cartoon “Arthur” revealed teacher Mr. Ratburn getting married to another man. Lamborn also opposed the Equality Act, which would extend federal nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ people.
“The so-called ‘Equality Act’ would have disastrous effects on our culture, and would in actuality create more inequality,” said Lamborn in a 2021 news release. “This legislation would force schools, churches, hospitals, businesses, and other institutions to cater to the leftist view of sex and gender or be shut down. As a result of the “Equality Act,” parents would live in fear that our children would be forced to share bathrooms, locker rooms, and sleeping facilities with individuals who self-identify as the opposite sex. This legislation would also lead to the ultimate demise of women’s sports.”
Lamborn has been a longtime ally of Woodland Park religious leader Andrew Wommack, regularly speaking at Wommack’s annual Truth and Liberty Conference.
“I’m honored to represent Andrew Wommack Ministries in Congress,” said Lamborn at the beginning of his prerecorded message for the 2022 conference. In 2022 Lamborn also made an appearance at controversial worship leader Sean Feucht’s Hold the Line event at the Road Church in Colorado Springs.
“We appreciate the fact that Steve [Holt, pastor of The Road Church] wants all of the seven mountains of society to be taken over for the Lord,” said Lamborn, referencing the concept in evangelical Christianity which suggests that Christians should take over the “seven mountains” of cultural influence: family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business and government.
Despite Lamborn’s conservative bonafides, he has faced increasing opposition from far-right Republicans in Colorado. Colorado GOP Chair Dave Williams tried unsuccessfully to primary Lamborn in 2022, claiming Lamborn voted for a budget that funds Planned Parenthood, among other things. The primary took a turn when Williams urged 4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen to launch a criminal investigation into Lamborn over false statements in political campaign mailers. The DA found “insufficient factual support for [Williams’] allegations and no criminal charges will be filed.”
During the primary, El Paso County GOP Chair Vickie Tonkins attacked Lamborn for petitioning onto the ballot instead of going through the assembly process, claiming he “broke his word” to party members.
Following his primary loss to Lamborn, Williams was elected as Colorado GOP chair, and used his position to attack Lamborn for his “Yes” vote on the congressional debt ceiling package. Williams has used the party’s Twitter account to call Lamborn “a say-anything politician” and accused him of “violat[ing] our platform or conservatives values.”
Both Williams and Tonkins become controversial figures amongst Colorado Republicans, who blame the far-right leaders for electoral losses in recent years. “Frankly, the El Paso County Republican Party can be charitably called a dumpster fire for the last several elections,” said Former Colorado GOP Chair Dick Wadhams during a May 2022 appearance on George Brauchler’s radio show.
While no other Republicans have yet announced their candidacy for Lamborn’s seat, sources within the El Paso County Republican Party have speculated that newly-elected Academy School District 20 board-member Derrick Wilburn might have federal aspirations. Wilburn amassed a number of endorsements from prominent Republicans, including Lamborn, during his campaign.
Williams today told Colorado Politics that he’s considering getting in the race himself. Recent rule changes pushed by Williams will allow party officers to oppose primary candidates who petition on to the ballot rather than going through the caucus and assembly process.
The candidate filing deadline for U.S. House seats is March 19, with the Republican primary taking place on June 25.