@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 1. Thread
Smith registered in Custer County as an unaffiliated voter in March 2019, only switching to the Democratic Party on Friday, according to records from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
Running for office was “the furthest thing from my mind”
@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 2. Smith said, until the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

“It was really Jan. 6 when I sat here at my ranch and I watched what happened. It was one of the most appalling moments, to me, in American history,” he said. “I thought about ‘what can I do?’”
@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 3. He’s confident he can beat Boebert in the Republican-leaning, Donald-Trump-supporting district because of his background in the military and business. But he is also likely to face big questions about his past.

After serving in the Marines, Smith says he worked as a partner
@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 4. at the consulting firm Deloitte in New York City. Around that time, he met Erik Prince, the former Navy Seal who founded the private security firm Blackwater, and said they became friends.

Blackwater drew intense, international criticism after four of its contractors
@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 5. killed 17 civilians in Iraq in 2007. The four were later convicted on federal charges, but were pardoned by President Trump earlier this year.

“I provided him business advice over the years, including the sale of Blackwater,” Smith said of Prince. “In 2010, I advised him
@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 6. on that sale.”

The relationship soured in 2015, Smith says, when he found out that “Erik was using that business to cover for some of his mercenary aspirations and he was actually arming some of our surveillance aircraft with munitions.”
@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 7. Smith says he resigned from Frontier Services Group when he found out that the company was going to start training Chinese military and security personnel. According to the company’s annual report, he served as a consultant through the end of 2016.
@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 8. Smith says he has spent the last several years trying to blow the whistle on Prince, who is the brother of Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos. He’s been featured in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Intercept and Rolling Stone magazine discussing his work
@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 9. and disagreements with his former business partner.
“It’s impossible to detach me from Erik Prince,” Smith said. “When I decided I was going to announce that I’m going to run for this congressional seat, I recognized that I was going to have to confront the 20-year business
@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 10. relationship I had with Erik Prince.”

Smith spent 30 years as a “back-bench conservative Republican,” but says he is now a “firm” Democrat. He made a number of small donations to Democratic U.S. Senate candidates in 2020, including John Hickenlooper, Steve Bullock in Montana
@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 11. and Cal Cunningham in North Carolina, according to data from the Federal Election Commission

“I voted for Hillary (Clinton) in 2016. I voted for Joe (Biden) in 2020,” Smith said. “I firmly believe in the Democratic platform.”
@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 12. Finally, Smith is already facing questions about his recent full-time move to Colorado and into the 3rd District, which wraps across the Western Slope into Pueblo.

Smith is likely to face a crowded primary field as Democrats take aim at Boebert’s seat.
@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 13. Donovan, a Vail Democrat, filed paperwork Wednesday to launch her campaign. Colin Wilhelm, a Glenwood Springs lawyer&Democrat, has already formally announced a bid to unseat Boebert.
State Rep. Dylan Roberts, an Avon Democrat, is also exploring whether to launch a campaign.
@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 14. Smith is brushing off any criticism about his being a newcomer to Colorado.

“I’ve been an owner of property since 2008,” he said. “I sat on the board of our ranch. It’s a big ranch — it’s got a lot of the same issues that a lot of ranchers do. We had cattle, we had hay
@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 15. we had horses. I’m not unfamiliar with the issues. I’ve been here now only seven months, but I’m not unfamiliar with the issues from Pueblo to Grand Junction. I understand them.”

Colorado’s 3rd District will likely look a lot different in 2022 after an independent commission
@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 16. redraws the state’s congressional districts and potentially adds an eighth one.

Members of Congress are not required to live in the district they represent, but Smith says he’d rethink his decision to run if Westcliffe is drawn out of the 3rd district.
@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 17. “I think you ought to be living in the district you’re running in,” he said. “Frankly, I’d be offended if someone else from outside of our district was trying to (run).”

Colorado Sun correspondent Sandra Fish contributed to this report.
@Maxwell02720596 @GreggSmithCO3 18/FIN
I mean. . .Lots of prominent Rs changed parties post-Trump&esp post 1/6.
Miller owns up to his past, has been vocal re: criticism/exposure of Prince, says he’ll bow out if redristricting puts him out of his district.
He seems legit; there’s time to verify his bona fides

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