Will Scott McInnis Change His Stance on Piñon Canyon?

December 17 2009, 12:16 PM

McInnis, ScottMany Republicans oppose the military's attempt to expand Fort Carson's Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeastern Colorado because they worry the U.S. Army may use eminent-domain law to take the land of opposing ranchers. And those ranchers could join the Tea Party, becoming yet another hurdle former Congressman Scott McInnis must clear in order to connect with the GOP's grassroots. McInnis has supported the site's expansion, making him vulnerable to the powerful Piñon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition, a group of ranchers, politicians, and businesses that has successfully thwarted the Army's efforts for years. "As it stands today, I don't think McInnis could get 25 percent of the Republican votes in southeast Colorado," Grady Grissom, a rancher from Las Animas County, tells The Denver Post. Meanwhile, Westword notes that the GOP's recent platform for prosperity "is silent on the issue of of the Army's Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site---and McInnis is on record supporting such expansion, a move that one-time opponent Josh Penry opposed." But McInnis has wooed the GOP in Colorado Springs, home to Fort Carson. Without expansion, locals fear the Pentagon may remove troops, hurting the economy, the Gazette points out. When Democratic Governor Bill Ritter was in the city yesterday to tout his support for troops and veterans, he "dodged questions" about the expansion, although he has expressed support for an expansion ban in the past.