• 07/23/2024

    Voters Deliver a Mixed Bag in Colorado Primary

    June 26, 2024
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    The clear takeaway from Tuesday’s primary is that Colorado voters are a diverse bunch with wide spectrum of priorities and ideas. 

    DSA Loses Bigly

    Members of the far-left Colorado Democrat Socialists of America (DSA) won’t be returning to the State House next year. 

    Representatives Elisabeth Epps (HD6) and Tim Hernández (HD4) lost their primaries Tuesday, after prominent Democrats, including Governor Polis, endorsed their “more moderate” challengers and national money flooded the local races. Kyra deGruy Kennedy, wife of Chris deGruy Kennedy (HD30) who was also endorsed by DSA, lost her contest s well, failing to keep her husband’s seat in the family. 

    Epps and Hernandez faced escalating criticism from their Democrat colleagues, last session and during the campaign, for their anti-Israel advocacy and their refusal to toe the party line — often breaking with the establishment on key votes. 

    The pair also faced criticism from their Republican colleagues for their outsized focus on disarmament, enabling crimes against children, and flying foreign flags on the floor of the People’s House.

    According to 9 News, and most corporate media, “These decisions by voters mark a shift back toward moderate Democrats and away from far-left progressives.” 

    That’s certainly the narrative Democrats are selling voters this cycle. “No, seriously, we’re really not communists!” 

    Republicans Remain Divided

    Over in CD4, Greg Lopez won Ken Buck‘s vacant seat and is heading to D.C. for the rest of the year. Lopez is not running for the seat in November. Lauren Boebert won that nomination, and she will face Trisha Calvarese in the general. Calvarese was also on the ticket for the special election, which Lopez won by more than 39,000 votes, or 24%. 

    More GOP establishment picks were victorious in CD3, Boebert’s current seat, and CD5, where Ron Hanks and Dave Williams lost to a couple of Jeffs: Jeff Hurd and Jeff Crank, respectively. Current State Rep Gabe Evans handily won the primary in CD8, though he faces a tough contest against Democrat incumbent Yadira Caraveo in November. 

    Local races on the Republican side saw mixed results between America First and establishment candidates. Adriana Cuva lost her bid for SD12 and Saudra Larsen failed to prevail over former GOP Chair Kristi Burton Brown for State Board of education. 

    In other races, America First candidates were victorious, including Highlands Ranch resident Matt Burcham’s triumph over Lora Thomas for HD43, and former State Rep Kevin Van Winkle’s nomination for Douglas County Commissioner.

    Eyes on the General 

    CD3, CD4, and CD5 should be reliably Republican seats, but CD8 is a toss up. If Evans were able to pull off the upset, and Republicans hold their three current seats, then half of Colorado’s federal representatives would be Republican. Talk about shifting voter sentiment in Colorado!

    That being said, the race in CD3 will reveal whether Boebert’s hardships in 2022 were a "her problem" or signal of a changing local electorate. 

    While most of the primary candidates for State government ran unopposed, the results of actual contests indicate a mixed bag from voters. Republicans seek to flip a few vulnerable seats in both chambers, hoping to restore some sense of balance after a particularly tumultuous 74th General Assembly. 

    Still, it appears McCluskie is on track to retain the gavel in the 75th. It seems unthinkable, given the absolute state of Colorado, but those are the results. 

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    Ashe Epp

    Ashe Epp is a local writer and a Colorado Free Press contributor. You can find more from Ashe at linktr.ee/asheinamerica.
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