Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer announces she’s entering the race for Colorado’s newest — and swingiest — congressional seat

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer rebuts a climate bill on the last day of the legislative session. June 8, 2021.

State lawmaker Barbara Kirkmeyer is the latest Republican to join Colorado's 8th congressional district race. 

The first-term state senator is entering what is expected to be a crowded GOP primary field for the open seat. She served 19 years as a Weld County commissioner and said the focus of her congressional campaign will be inflation, deficit spending, crime and border security.

“Congress is in desperate need of fresh, new leadership dedicated to American renewal,” said Kirkmeyer in a statement announcing her bid. 

The new 8th district spans the northern Denver suburbs up to Weld County and was created in the latest round of redistricting due to Colorado’s population growth.

The state’s independent redistricting commission configured the map to make the seat highly competitive, giving either party a good shot at winning next year.

Kirkmeyer was elected to the legislature in 2020. In her first session, she sponsored three bills that became law, two related to the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship, and the other to eliminate an obsolete advisory committee. She also introduced unsuccessful measures to restrict government non-disclosure agreements and to require a minimum setback between new schools and existing oil and gas operations.

During her time as a county commissioner, Kirkmeyer was one of the faces of the short-lived secession movement to pursue a 51st state. County voters eventually rejected the effort.

Other Republicans in the CO-8 race include most notably former state lawmaker and current Weld County commissioner Lori Saine, as well as Ryan Gonzalez and Giulianna "Jewels" Gray.

On the Democratic side, statehouse Rep. Yadira Caraveo and Adams County Commissioner Chaz Tedesco have announced their bids.