COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo - ***Update to Story is at Bottom of Text ***
State Senator Owen Hill from Colorado Springs says he is not going to be bullied by backroom politics. Hill who represents the eastern side of the community in District 10 says he's been pressured to drop out of the race for the U.S. Senate.
It's to let fellow Republican challenger, Congressman Corey Gardner have a clear and easy path to the GOP nomination. Both want the job of incumbent Democrat, Senator Mark Udall.
On the phone, in between meetings at the state capitol on Thursday, Senator Hill told me, "It's my duty to offer a choice within the Republican party as opposed to the heir apparent that insiders who want to have a coronation." Senator Hill said Congressman Corey Gardner approached him a few weeks ago about bowing out.
I went to the El Paso County Republican Headquarters to get a take on this apparent infighting behind closed doors that's made it out to the public. Daniel Cole is Executive Director. He told me he doesn't think there are any backroom dealings, "I don't think any choices are being denied. Corey Gardner decided he would have a good shot at the Senate race. Obviously, Senator Hill is free to run and if he decides to continue his run we are going to have a couple of good choices in Corey Gardner and Owen Hill."
Two other Republican hopefuls just bowed out of the race for U.S. Senate. They are State Representative Amy Stephens and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck. Both favor Corey Gardner in the race for the Senate.
On Thursday, I contacted Congressman Corey Gardener's office to get a comment from him about statements made by Senator Hill. I didn't hear from the office on Thursday.
On Friday, I received a call from Congressman Gardener's office about his re-election campaign. His Press Secretary told me that the Congressman was not skirting the issues brought up by Senator Hill. Congressman Gardner won't officially announce until Saturday his intentions to run for U.S. Senate. He is willing to talk with KRDO, NewsChannel 13 about the concerns made by Senator Hill and will in a one on one interview.