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PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) – Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton has retained Colorado’s sprawling 3rd Congressional District seat by defeating Democratic state lawmaker Sal Pace.

Tipton won a second term on Tuesday in a swing district the size of Arkansas that covers the western and southern portions of Colorado. The district historically is one of the state’s most competitive because of its nearly equal shares of Republican, Democrat and unaffiliated voters.

Tipton had a slow fundraising start to his re-election bid. But he accelerated with party support and mounted a strong campaign with dozens of town hall meetings and a message of smaller government with less regulation.

Tipton was first elected in 2010 with tea party support.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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