Five takeaways from our interview with State Sen. Owen Hill, who is launching a primary challenge to Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs:
HE'S READY TO FIGHT
Hill announces his candidacy in muscular terms while suggesting that incumbent Republican Doug Lamborn has been a weak representative for his constituents.
“They want someone who is going to go kick butt and take names,” Hill said.
A Lamborn spokesman offered Hill a chilly welcome to the race.
“This is a free country and people are welcome to run for any office they wish” Jarred Rego said. “Congressman Lamborn trusts the wisdom of the Republican Primary voters in the Fifth Congressional District.”
FOLLOW ME TO FREEDOM
Hill promises to join the House Freedom Caucus, the group of conservative Republicans which has been a thorn in the side of President Trump. Lamborn is not a current member of the Freedom Caucus. Hill slammed critics of the Freedom Caucus who say they are holding back the President’s conservative agenda.
“That critique is entirely misinformed and it’s unfair,” Hill said. “It’s an ignorant critique.”
KEN BUCK IS HIS SPIRIT ANIMAL
Hill is trying to align himself with Congressman Ken Buck, a member of the Freedom Caucus. Following the failure of the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, Buck said he had not committed to supporting it. A week later, Buck said he was a supporter and Hill echoed that position in support of the Republican plan. Hill blamed the back-and-forth on a failure by Republican leadership to communicate clearly.
“Ken Buck and I would be closely aligned,” Hill said.
WHO IS AFRAID OF DOUG LAMBORN?
Hill suggested that Lamborn, despite his decade of experience in Washington, doesn’t have the heft or influence of junior House members.
Hill said a legal fight between the EPA and Colorado Springs is proof that Lamborn doesn’t hold sway.
“The EPA doesn’t sue people in [Congressman] Trey Gowdy’s district. The EPA doesn’t sue people in [House Speaker] Paul Ryan’s district,” Hill said. “The bureaucracies in DC should be afraid of the congressman in that community.”
WHAT THE HELL... LET'S GO TRY THIS THING!
Hill is heading down a path well-worn by Lamborn’s previous primary challengers, hoping to be the first to succeed in toppling the incumbent. Hill has seen success in the state legislature this year, passing two measures that attracted significant media attention: legalizing switchblades and allowing ballot selfies.
Asked if he was more interested in flashy hot topics rather than the nitty gritty of governance, Hill said he never expected public attention for his switchblade legalization.
Hill said a retired serviceman in his district kept pointing out that Colorado law made common switchblades illegal.
After several years of persistence, Hill agreed to turn the veteran’s concern into a bill.
"What the hell, let’s go try this thing,” Hill said. “It is testimony to the fact that the system still works.”
WATCH: Our interview with Owen Hill