AURORA | Steve House, a former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, announced he would seek to challenge Aurora Congressman Jason Crow in 2020.
“This is my soapbox moment,” he told a group of about 15 supporters, including his wife Donna and fellow primary opponent Casper Stockham, at a gathering near the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. House said he wanted the event to be just like Abraham Lincoln would have done it, as he stepped onto the bench of a picnic table.
Monday morning House officially announced his bid on Facebook.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,” he said, quoting Mahatma Gandhi.
“I will represent you with integrity and transparency and won’t need new laws to do that because it is the right thing to do,” he wrote. “I believe representing CD6 is the most important part of the job and being a member of congress falls somewhere down the list. I believe I can represent you better by focusing more on what is possible than I do what is wrong.”
With a vast medical campus as a backdrop, House told supporters health care would be high on his priority list and that policies like Medicare for all are “defeatist.”
“Socialism is really hard,” he said. “It sounds great, but it’s hard.”
When asked about immigration, House said the question of why so many people are leaving their countries and making the trek to the U.S. should be examined. He wouldn’t use the term “amnesty,” and believes that those seeking legal immigration status should have to serve in the military or meet a similar criteria.
He added that he thought there should be an effort on assimilating immigrants, “otherwise it’s a culture of contempt.”
House, who served at the helm of the state GOP for two years, stepped down from his CEO leadership role within the party last week, according to an email sent by chairman Ken Buck earlier this month.
The now-candidate enters the 6th Congressional District race with a turbulent recent history in state politics.
He failed to capture the Republican nomination to John Hickenlooper in the 2014 gubernatorial race. In 2015, after beating Ryan Call for the chairmanship, House said he had been “threatened” into leaving his post, telling the Denver Post then that if he didn’t resign he was told his supposed extramarital affairs would be exposed by a group of state Republicans. The coup attempt was allegedly led by former Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, who at the time was married to Mike Coffman, the former Republican congressman in CD6. She has denied making those threats.
House said in 2017 he would neither seek another term for the party chairman nor run for governor. He now joins Casper Stockham, who challenged Denver Congresswoman Diana Degette twice before, in vying for a chance at challenging Crow.
Stockham launched his intention to run in June.
Crow, an Aurora attorney, beat Mike Coffman by 10 percentage points in 2018, ending the Republican’s decade-long run as the Aurora congressman. The race was one of the closest-watched in the country, epitomizing the “blue wave” and the changing political demographic of the eastern Denver metro region.
He lives in Brighton, which is located in the congressional district.
A spokesperson for Crow declined to comment on House’s bid. According to the latest fundraising numbers, Crow has more than $1 million on hand for his re-election bid.