By Aaron Blake - 08/09/06 12:00 AM EDT
Democrat Ed Perlmutter defeated primary opponent Peggy Lamm in Colorado's 7th District on Tuesday and will face Republican Rick O'Donnell in one of the most competitive House races in the country.
Perlmutter and O'Donnell, a former policy director for Gov. Bill Owens (R) who did not face primary opposition, are running for the seat of Rep. Bob Beauprez (R), who is leaving Congress to run for governor.
Perlmutter, a former state senator, beat former state Rep. Lamm 53-38. A third candidate, Herb Rubenstein, took 9 percent.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) reacted to Perlmutter's victory by turning attention away from the bruising primary and toward Social Security, which is likely to be a big issue in the race.
O'Donnell has been criticized for a paper her wrote in 1995 calling for the abolition of the Social Security system. He has since said that's no longer his view.
"Rick O'Donnell may think that Social Security is un-American, but Coloradoans who work hard to earn their retirement benefits know that nothing is more American than protecting our nation's promise to our seniors," Emanuel said.
Also in Colorado on Tuesday, state Sen. Doug Lamborn edged out Jeff Crank in a six-way Republican primary to succeed retiring Rep. Joel Hefley (R) in the heavily Republican 5th District.
Lamborn trailed early in the night but wound up beating Crank, a former Hefley aide, 27-25. Crank, who was endorsed by Hefley and Rep. Tom Tancredo (R), had previously beaten Lamborn at the district assembly, 46-40.
Lamborn, who was backed by the Club for Growth and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R), will face Democrat Jay Fawcett in November.