Candidates battle for, and march on, D.C.

Editor’s note: This is the Herald’s weekly roundup of campaign news.

Hundreds of people from across the country, including at least two Durangoans, planned to rally in Washington, D.C., today for a National Day of Action on Fracking. The event aims to raise the visibility and awareness of the impacts of drilling and fracking on America’s communities.

Gwen Lachelt, Durango resident and executive director of the Oil & Gas Accountability Project, said she and many others also will use the trip to the nation’s capitol to lobby legislators and hold town hall meetings. There is a need to “change the tide” and promote meaningful regulation and oversight as a critical component of responsible energy development in the United States, said Lachelt, who is running for La Plata County commissioner as a Democrat.

Debut debate: The first head-to-head debate in the 3rd Congressional District campaign is set.

Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, will square off against Democrat Sal Pace on Aug. 8 at Adams State College in Alamosa.

The pair also will debate later in the year at Club 20 in Grand Junction and in a debate sponsored by the Pueblo Chieftain.

Speaking of debates: The Commission on Presidential Debates unveiled the format for the Oct. 3 matchup in Denver between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.

The 90-minute debate will focus on domestic issues. Moderators will choose six topics to discuss with the candidates in 15-minute blocks.

The debate at Denver University will be the first of three matchups between Obama and Romney.

A third for the 3rd? The secretary of state’s office has until Thursday to figure out whether unaffiliated candidate Tisha Casida turned in enough petition signatures to qualify for the ballot for 3rd Congressional District.

Casida has support from many Ron Paul Republicans. Other than Pace and Tipton, she is the only candidate to report any fundraising. Others in the race include Libertarian Gregory Gilman and unaffiliated write-in candidates Jaime McMillan and Dale Reed.

Rumors of 2016: Gov. John Hickenlooper, one of the most popular governors in the country, will give a speech in New Hampshire next month, television station WMUR reported.

Hickenlooper has repeatedly denied interest in running for president, but his date in New Hampshire – site of the first primary – raised the eyebrows of political observers from Denver to Washington.

Countdown: 101 days until the November election.

Herald staff writer Emery Cowan contributed to this report.

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