by Ralph Routon
After not committing earlier with its main round of endorsements, the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce announced Friday it is backing Republican Ken Buck for the U.S. Senate over Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.
Buck came to the chamber's downtown headquarters for the media event, as chamber president Dave Csintyan made known the endorsement.
Earlier, the chamber endorsed Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat for Governor, but did not host a press conference to announce that endorsement. When asked why the chamber was making its Senate endorsement so late in the game, after more than 90,000 local voters have already cast early ballots, Csintyan said it was “because of scheduling conflicts ... it was difficult for us to schedule time when our PAC and each of the candidates could meet.”
Recent polls have shown Bennet and Buck locked in a tight race, perhaps separated by only 1 percentage point.
Buck said that he was for repealing the health care reform passed by Congress, which he refers to as Obamacare. When asked by a reporter, he said he favored “utilizing market forces” to encourage private insurance companies to offer health care coverage to children and adults with preexisting conditions.
Buck also said he favored faith-based groups having access to more federal funds: “If a Salvation Army soup kitchen and a non-religious soup kitchen are in the same community, the federal government should not discriminate against the Salvation Army just because they are Christian.” When asked if he would favor federal funding for a Muslim-led soup kitchen, Buck responded that “the federal government should treat all religions equally.”
For all El Paso County races, the chamber only endorsed Republican candidates. On the state level, the chamber did choose Democratic incumbent Bernie Buescher for secretary of state over Republican Scott Gessler.