Thornton mayor enters crowded Republican CO-8 race

Nathaniel Minor/CPR News
The under-construction Thornton Crossing station for RTD’s N Line in Thornton, Colorado.

The mayor of Thornton, Jan Kulmann, is running for Colorado’s newly created 8th congressional district, marking the 5th Republican to join the primary race for the open seat.  

Kulmann was elected mayor in 2019 after previously serving on the city council.

“Solving problems is what I do,” said Kulmann in a statement announcing her candidacy. “But I also know, sometimes you’ve got to stand up and fight. America is so much better than what we have become. Now is the time to elect an outsider who gets results.” 

Kulmann is an engineer in the oil and gas industry and previously served on the board of the Stargate School, which is part of the Adams 12 School District and serves intellectually gifted students. She also highlighted the fact that she is a mother of two children, and successfully campaigned against a recall effort in 2016 from people opposed to fracking.  The group failed to get enough signatures to put the recall on the ballot 

She said her top goals if elected include advocating for school choice, tackling inflation, supporting law enforcement, the military and first responders and backing energy policies that, her statement said, “re-establish America’s energy independence.”

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. Thornton, with a population of around 137,000, is the largest city in the new district. 

Other Republicans already in the CO-8 race include state senator Barbara Kirkmeyer and Weld County commissioner Lori Saine, as well as political newcomers Ryan Gonzalez and Giulianna "Jewels" Gray.

On the Democratic side, statehouse Rep. Yadira Caraveo, Adams County Commissioner Chaz Tedesco and first time candidate Johnny Humphrey are vying for their party’s nomination.

Colorado’s independent redistricting commission configured the new district to make the seat highly competitive, giving either party a good shot at winning the seat next year. Republicans and Democrats say they expect it will be an expensive race, drawing national attention and dollars, with control of the U.S House potentially at stake.

Related stories