Ed Perlmutter bested Peggy Lamm and Herb Rubenstein for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 7th District. He will face off against Republican Rick O’Donnell in November for the seat being vacated by Bob Beauprez who is running for Governor.

The district, Colorado’s newest, is considered up for grabs because it is nearly evenly split among Republicans (32 percent of registered voters), Democrats (34 percent) and unaffiliated voters (34 percent). It twice elected Beauprez, but also backed Democrat John Kerry in 2004.

“Democrats want to win this seat, Democrats have to win this seat. We need 15 seats to win control of the House and change the direction where the House is headed,” said Danielle Radovich, Perlmutter’s spokeswoman.

To Peggy’s credit, she immediately promised to support Ed in November.

Perlmutter and Lamm moved quickly to mend fences, with Lamm planning to join him at a reconciliation meeting later this week. “Peggy and I were friends before the race. We’ll be friends again,” Perlmutter said.

O’Donnell wasted no time in contacting Ed after his victory last night. He has written him this letter challenging him to a debate a week for the next 12 weeks.

Voters will have a clear choice to make in the fall election because there is a vast difference between Perlmutter and O’Donnell in their position on issues. Here are a few:

Other issues you can bet they will disagree on: health care, immigration, education, budget issues and tax reform.

Another difference between them is their professional background. Perlmutter has prior legislative experience. He served in the state Senate from 1994 to 2002 when he was forced out by term limits. While there, he was Senator Pro Tem. Rick O’Donnell has not held elective office. He served as a policy director under Gov. Owens and as the head of Colorado’s higher education system. In 2002, he sought the Republican nomination for the 7th District, but was beaten by Bob Beauprez in the primary.

Rick O’Donnell’s website is here. Ed Perlmutter’s is here.

I look forward to the debates between the two candidates and continuing to highlight their differences. This will be one of the most talked about races in the country, and the stakes are high not only for both parties, but for all of us as well.