Colorado Primary Day 2020: Live Blog

June 30, 2020
Primary Day Voting Ballot Drop Off DenverPrimary Day Voting Ballot Drop Off DenverHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Denver Elections Division’s drive through ballot-drop-off station on Bannock Street on Primary Election Day June 30, 2020.

10:19 p.m. — Good night live blog

Here are the stories to read to recap tonight's results.

And here's a photo of a cat with an "I Voted" sticker. See you all tomorrow.


9:36 p.m. — Trump congratulates Boebert

While President Donald Trump had endorsed Rep. Scott Tipton twice going into Colorado's primary, he was quick to congratulate Lauren Boebert on her upset win in a tweet.

She thanked him in turn.

Boebert, a small business owner and staunch gun-rights supporter, ran to the right of Tipton, arguing he wasn’t conservative enough.

The Associated Press has officially called the race for her.

— Caitlyn Kim


9:14 p.m. — Boebert defeats Tipton in upset win

In a surprise upset, GOP challenger Lauren Boebert defeated Republican incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton for the GOP nomination in Colorado’s massive 3rd Congressional District.

Before the race was called, Titpon, who had been trailing all night, sent out a statement conceding the race.

“Third District Republicans have decided who they want to run against the Democrats this November. I want to congratulate Lauren Boebert and wish her and her supporters well,” he said.

Read more about the surprise upset.

Caitlyn Kim


8:58 p.m. — Yep, tonight's victory and concession speeches are a little shorter than usual

Everyone's feeling a little Zoomed out, and that might include political candidates.

Political scientist Seth Masket pointed out on CPR News' live election radio special that the speeches are "a lot shorter in the COVID era."

Hickenlooper's and Romanoff's speeches tonight confirmed that, both coming in at around four minutes.

Alex Scoville


8:35 p.m. — Watch Hickenlooper's victory speech

Alex Scoville


8:22 p.m. — Who is Lauren Boebert, the political newcomer leading over incumbent Tipton?

Courtesy Lauren Boebert for Congress
Lauren Boebert poses in a promotional photo for her campaign.

Lauren Boebert is a political novice and owns Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado, a restaurant known for servers who are armed and open carry.

Earlier this summer, Shooters Grill defied a cease-and-desist order from the state for serving diners.

Boebert has questioned Rep. Scott Tipton's voting record and whether he's "Trump enough."

She's pro-President Donald Trump and pro-gun, and isn’t dismissive of QAnon, a conspiracy theory alleging a “deep state” attack on Trump. On a Q-friendly web show, Boebert, based on what she heard about Q, said: “I hope that this is real.”

Whether Boebert or Tipton win, they will face Democratic nominee Diane Mitsch Bush in November.

The 3rd Congressional District is the state’s largest and a mainly rural area. It’s been a reliable Republican seat for the last decade.

— Caitlyn Kim and Alex Scoville


8:05 p.m. — Romanoff concedes over Zoom

The former state House speaker ran as the progressive alternative to former Gov. John Hickenlooper, but it was not enough.

"I think the work goes on, perhaps in a different capacity," Romanoff said in a concession speech held over the video conferencing platform Zoom.

This is Romanoff’s third failed run for Congress, and the second time he has lost a Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate.

Romanoff's father died a few days ago, and he said he realizes there are more important things than "any election result."

Bente Birkeland and Alex Scoville


7:58 p.m. — District 3 has a Democratic nominee

The Associated Press has called the race to be District 3's Democratic nominee for Diane Mitsch Bush.

Mitsch Busch has lived on the Western Slope for decades and is a former Routt County commissioner and a former state representative. She ran against incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Tipton in 2018 and lost.

Learn more about Bush here.

Alex Scoville


7:38 p.m. — Hickenlooper cinched the primary. Now it's on to a face-off with Gardner in November

Pool Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper debates former state House speaker Andrew Romanoff in the studio of Denver7 in Denver on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

Colorado voters have chosen Democrat John Hickenlooper to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in November. It’s a matchup that could be pivotal to determining which party controls the Senate.

Read more.

Bente Birkeland


7:26 p.m. — AP calls the Democratic Senate primary race for Hickenlooper

Less than half an hour after polls closed, the Associated Press is calling it for former Gov. John Hickenlooper.


7:25 p.m. — Want more #ElectionNight content? Follow our reporters on Twitter

CPR News journalists Bente Birkeland, Andy Kenney and Caitlyn Kim are offering updates and insights on Twitter. Here are some highlights so far:

— Alex Scoville


7:19 p.m. — Watch Romanoff watch the results

With the coronavirus pandemic still going on, election night parties have gone remote too. Watch the Romanoff campaign's below.

Alex Scoville


7:08 p.m. — Early results are in

John Hickenlooper has taken an early lead over Andrew Romanoff, at 56 to 44 percent.

In District 3, the incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton is behind challenger Lauren Boebert 40 to 60 percent. In the Democratic race for that district, Diane Mitsch Bush leads James Iacino.

See the full results here.

Alex Scoville


6:31 p.m. — 99.8% of votes in the primary were cast via mail ballots

Of the more than 1.3 million ballots turned in so far, Secretary of State Jena Griswold said 99.8 percent of those votes were cast by mail ballots, either returned by mail or drop boxes.

97.5 percent of people voted by mail in the presidential primary in March, just before positive cases of COVID-19 arrived in Colorado.

With the pandemic forcing changes to daily life, voting by mail has suddenly become controversial with some Republicans and President Donald Trump claiming concerns over election fraud. But voting by mail is not new in Colorado. The state moved to all-mail ballots in 2013.

Griswold celebrated the turn-out in a Tweet.

Read more here.

Hayley Sanchez


6:02 p.m. — More ballot returns!

In the past few hours, nearly 100,000 more ballots have been cast. Coloradans have turned in 1,370,184 ballots as of 4 p.m. today.

See all the data from the Secretary of State's office here.

— Alex Scoville


4:55 p.m. — What does voting look like during social distancing?

Something like this.

Primary Day Voting Ballot Drop Off DenverHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Denver Elections Division’s drive-through ballot drop-off station on Bannock Street on Primary Election Day, June 30, 2020.
Primary Day Voting Ballot Drop Off DenverHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Denver Elections Division’s drive-through ballot drop-off station and mobile voting unit at Swansea Recreation Center on Primary Election Day, June 30, 2020.
Primary Day Voting Ballot Drop Off DenverHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold at the Denver Elections Division’s drive-through ballot drop-off station at Swansea Recreation Center on Primary Election Day, June 30, 2020. In remarks, she praised the city’s mobile voting facility there.
Primary Day Voting Ballot Drop Off DenverHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Denver Elections Division’s drive-through ballot drop-off station on Bannock Street on Primary Election Day, June 30, 2020.

— Hart Van Denburg


4:29 p.m. — Why are you voting today?

Natalia V. Navarro/CPR News
Voter Troy Kall poses after turning in his ballot for the 2020 Colorado primary election. He was photographed in front of the Denver Elections Division in downtown Denver.

For Denver voter Troy Kall, it's in part to earn the right to talk about the issues.

"You can't complain about what's going on if you don't have a say in what's going on," said Kall, who dropped off his ballot in Denver Tuesday morning. "I feel like if I vote, I have a little more ground to walk on with arguments, discussions, things like that."

Polls close at 7 p.m.

Natalia V. Navarro


3:54 p.m. — A look at midday ballot returns

Coloradans have turned in 1,279,267 ballots as of noon today.

That divides out into 734,224 Democratic ballots and 484,111 Republican ones.

You can look through the full Secretary of State data here.

And find your local polling place or drop-off box here.

— Alex Scoville


3:35 p.m. — The latest to know in the Colorado Senate Democratic primary race

Pool Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post
Former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, left, and former Gov. John Hickenlooper debate in the studio of Denver7 in Denver on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

Over the weekend before the primary election, John Hickenlooper faced more calls to end his Senate bid because of his participation in an annual hunting competition in Wyoming that he attended multiple times, up until 2018, and wore a headdress and a scarf from the Eastern Shoshone Tribe

Meanwhile, Andrew Romanoff hopes to capture the progressive vote with his reform message. But will the young, diverse and progressive voters reshaping Colorado’s Democratic politics show up for him?

Regardless of who captures the most votes today, one thing is already decided: Coloradans will be choosing between a white man in November. The state has never sent a female senator to Washington, and we asked a few of the women who ran in and dropped out of the race to talk about why.

Bente Birkeland and Alex Scoville


2:25 p.m. — Hey, it's the primary election

Welcome all. It's an election day.

The last time Coloradans for filling in those ballot bubbles was Super Tuesday on March 3, almost five months and forever ago in a pre-(known-in-Colorado)-coronavirus world.

Now it's time for Colorado to choose some candidates to square off for membership in the state's Congressional delegation.

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff are competing for the Senate nomination. The winner will square off against Republican incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner in November.

Still need to fill out that ballot? We broke down Hickenlooper and Romanoff's positions on the issues here.

And in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, GOP incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton is facing a challenge from political newcomer Lauren Boebert. Democratic voters in CD3 will choose between Diane Mitsch Bush and James Iacino to face the Republican nominee.

There are also numerous down-ballot contests at stake, for the state legislature and local offices. And in Denver, voters will pick a Democratic candidate for the state Board of Education.

Voting during a pandemic will look a little different. The state is requiring all staff involved in administering elections to wear masks. Polling areas will be set up to allow for social distancing and voting booths will be cleaned in between uses. Voters are urged to wear masks if they want to fill out a ballot in person.

If you are filling out your mail ballot today, your county clerk must receive it by 7 p.m. — postmarks do not count. We are in drop-off only territory today.

Megan Verlee and Alex Scoville