LAKEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – A member of Colorado’s first family of beer, Joe Coors Jr., announced Tuesday that he’s entering the world of politics as a Republican challenger in what’s expected to be a competitive state House district.
The great-grandson of brewery founder Adolph Coors will face incumbent Democrat Ed Perlmutter in suburban Denver’s 7th District, which splits almost evenly three ways among Democrats, Republicans and independents.
Coors’ entry into race sets up a showdown between a wealthy businessman and lifelong area resident who presents himself as the everyman.
Coors, calling his great-grandfather’s business success “a classic American story,” pledged to run on a platform of limited government and free enterprise.
“My great grandfather’s life is similar to millions of immigrants like him,” he said of Adolph Coors, who came to the U.S. from Germany. “It is with pride and humility that I was allowed to carry on his American dream. I am running for Congress so these stories are not just from the past, but remain in the present and are part of our future.”
This is not the first foray into state politics for the family. Joe Coors Jr.’s younger brother, Pete Coors, lost a U.S. Senate race in 2004 against Ken Salazar.
Perlmutter was elected in 2006 and has been easily re-elected twice in what is considered one of the state’s three most competitive districts.
“Ed looks forward to a spirited debate with Joe Coors. There couldn’t be a more stark contrast,” Perlmutter’s office said in a statement calling Joe Coors an “ultra-wealthy, highly partisan” candidate.
Coors is the former president and CEO of CoorsTek Inc., a technical ceramics manufacturing company with more than 3,500 employees and plants in 14 countries.
Coors said in his speech that “the American dream is rapidly vanishing as government expands its intrusion in our daily lives.”
He called the country’s unemployment figures “unacceptable” and criticized the federal government’s ballooning debt.
Joe Coors and his wife, Gail, have four children. His family was in attendance for his announcement at Red Rocks Community College.
The once-a-decade congressional redistricting process makes the 7th District slightly different this year as it no longer has a portion of Aurora.
Perlmutter testified during the redistricting trial that he values competitiveness, saying, “It forces people running for office to reach out a lot and to engage as many people as possible.”
The city of Westminster is also completely in the 7th District, which now includes portions of Thornton.
– By Ivan Moreno, AP Writer
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