- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

DENVER (AP) - Republican Colorado state Sen. Tim Neville has announced his run for the U.S. Senate, hoping to challenge Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet next year.

Neville says he’s running on a platform of opposing federal mandates on health care and education, among other issues.

The 59-year-old state senator from Littleton is serving his second term in the state Senate. The Denver Post first reported his candidacy.

Neville is waiting to hear whether he’ll face competition in the Republican primary from George Brauchler, the Arapahoe County district attorney who prosecuted Colorado theater shooter James Holmes. Already in the GOP contest is businessman Robert Blaha, who unsuccessfully challenged Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs in 2012.

Neville says he doesn’t fear a primary contest and that his conservative voting record will help him. In the state Legislature, Neville has voted to repeal gun-control measures such as expanded background checks. He has also voted to ban red-light traffic enforcement cameras.

Opposition to federal mandates will be a major plank of his campaign, Neville said Tuesday.

“So many issues that we face in Colorado are foisted upon us by the federal government,” said Neville, who cited health care laws and national education standards referred to as Common Core.

A spokesman for the Colorado Democratic Party said Bennet is anticipating a crowded field of GOP challengers.

“We expect a hard-fought campaign no matter who emerges to challenge Sen. Bennet,” spokesman Andrew Zucker said in an email.

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