CSU alumnus Nicholas Morse said some people called him crazy for running for Congress against a wealthy primary opponent as a 29-year-old with no previous experience as an elected official.
About eight months after beginning his campaign for a seat in the House of Representatives, Morse has become the official Republican challenger to Democratic incumbent Rep. Jared Polis, D-CO.
Morse, a former marketing executive and treasurer of the Larimer County Republican Party, officially began his campaign to represent Colorado’s Congressional District 2 in November of last year. It was not until recently that he was officially confirmed to be the Republican Party’s challenger to Polis.
Morse moved with his father to Colorado in 2000, and graduated from CSU with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in media studies in 2009, and in 2015 graduated from Grand Canyon University with an MBA. Morse is currently studying educational leadership for a doctorate degree.
Colorado Congressional District 2 encompasses Fort Collins, Boulder, Loveland, Northglenn, Thornton, Westminster and a variety of other northern Denver suburbs and a large area of the Rocky Mountains.
Financing college, fracking and foreign policy
“I think with any system we look at, we say it’s never just one thing. It’s a buildup, it’s a frustration,” Morse said. “I think that is being reflected in our political environment right now… Instead of me being frustrated and being silent, I said I need to be involved.”
Morse laid out a three-step plan to address the rising cost of higher education, including new tax incentives, better funding for alternative higher education routes and an “employer match” system for paying off student loans. Morse’s proposed system would offer tax cuts to employers who match their employee’s student loan payments, in a similar way to how many companies match part of their employees’ 401K retirement plans.
“Not everybody needs to go to College,” Morse said. “Carpenters, agrarians, metalworkers, craftsmen, these people need some sort of financial aid funding to learn the business aspect of what their craft is.”
Instead of expanding the federal government to reduce the cost of higher education, Morse argued that there are already a lot of programs and financial aid available for students to take advantage of, but not enough students actually are. Morse said this was the fault of the government for not making these programs more publicized.
“We should spend time making people aware of what’s out there,” Morse said. “There are millions of dollars in unused subsidies that people should take advantage of.”
Morse did not take a specific standpoint on how to address the issue of homelessness, which has become a more prominent topic of conversation in the Fort Collins community in recent years, but said that it should be addressed by local and state governments rather than by the federal government.
The Republican candidate pointed to Colorado and said the state had been robbed of much of its power because of federal grants that specify exactly how money must be spent.
“The government closest to the people should be the best,” Morse said. “We are hoping bureaucracy far away takes care of the problems of the day-to-day, and the response time is far too great. In the time it takes (for a response), people die.”
Patrick Davis, a policy adviser to Morse for just over a month, elaborated on other aspects of Morse’s campaign platform. In addition to this role, Davis serves as the state director for the Donald Trump campaign in Colorado.
Davis said Morse had praised fracking as an important aspect of Colorado’s jobs and economy. He also said that while Morse believes there is too much government regulation, part of the campaign’s platform is the belief that some regulations are necessary to protect the environment, such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.
On the topic of foreign policy, Davis said Morse believes it is important to protect the interests of Americans both in the U.S. and abroad, and said that it was “probably a bad policy to overthrow Gadaffi.” Davis said Morse had criticized President Obama for having “not done enough to quell the rise of ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism.”
Endorsements and Opponents
Morse said he was a supporter of Rand Paul during his run for the Republican nomination for president, but said he supports and respects the decision of Republican voters to nominate Trump.
“He won fair and square, we have to support our candidate,” Morse said. “My guy was Rand Paul, a strong constitutionalist, but I am an adult and I support the party nominee.”
When asked about his thoughts of the Colorado Republican Party’s nomination of Darryl Glenn to challenge Sen. Michael Bennet, D-CO, for his seat in this year’s congressional elections, Morse said he had previously endorsed Jack Graham, the former athletic director of Colorado State University.
Morse said he has since spoken with Glenn to discuss working together to win Larimer County, Colorado Congressional District 2 and Bennet’s seat. He confirmed that the Colorado Republican Party was working to coordinate various campaigns in a similar fashion across the state, but declined to reveal further details.
The Colorado Democratic party officially launched a state-wide coordinated campaign to re-elect Polis and Bennet and to garner support for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“Jared and I will have debates, we will cross paths for three hours in the next couple months,” Morse said, on his plans to defeat the Democratic incumbent. “I’ll focus on my campaign, he can focus on his, and we’ll let the voters decide.”
— Nicholas Morse (@NicMorseForCO) July 2, 2016
Collegian Executive Editor Erik Petrovich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @EAPetrovich.