Updated May 25, 2022
Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s decision to retire set off what is likely to be a competitive race to replace him in a reshaped 7th congressional district. Redistricting removed suburban Denver communities and redrew the lines so that CO-7 now stretches from Jefferson County into the mountains, including Chaffee, Lake, Teller, Fremont, Custer and Park counties.
While the seat has a seven-point Democratic advantage, based on results from recent statewide races, Republicans are hopeful the inclusion of some more red-leaning counties will give them a shot to flip it.
Here’s a list of who’s running for this rare open seat, and the issues most motivating them to get in the race.
Erik Aadland — The former Army officer and West Point graduate is a first time candidate. After leaving the military, he worked in the oil and natural gas industry, with his last position as a project manager. He originally announced a run for Senate in the crowded Republican field, but transitioned to run for CO-7 late last year. He says he’s running because the progressive movement has “embraced a socialist future” and that is a threat to finances today and freedoms tomorrow. He adds he wants to stop government overreach. Aaland won the most support at the district assembly and will appear first on the ballot.
Laurel Imer — Imer was a Trump delegate to the 2020 Republican National Convention and co-chaired his campaign in Jefferson Country. She ran unsuccessfully for the state House last year. In this race, she’s been endorsed by former congressman Tom Tancredo and Kelli Ward, chair of the Arizona GOP who has pushed false claims of election fraud. The conservative says she will stop the “globalist agenda” and push to finish building the wall on the southern border, eliminate the Department of Education and end legal abortion. Imer qualified for the ballot through the district assembly.
Tim Reichert — Reichert is an economist and CEO of Economics Partners, based in Denver. He lives in Golden and is planning to self-fund much of his campaign, saying he is prepared to put $500,000 of his own money into it. He has also been involved with numerous religious organizations, such as Christ in the City, Missionaries of Charity, and ENDOW. He’s concerned about the direction of the country, both economically and politically. Reichert’s platform focuses on economics and business issues; he says he wants to restore the middle class. He's qualified for the ballot through the petition process.
Brittany Pettersen — The state Senator for Jefferson County was the first to throw her hat in the ring after Perlmutter’s announcement, quickly securing a wide range of endorsements, including Perlmutter’s. She's been a state senator since 2019, and prior to that spent six years in the House. During her time as a representative, Pettersen helped pass the red flag gun law and the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act. She cites income inequality and opportunity gaps, climate change and “conspiracy theorists” threatening democracy as major issues at stake in this election. Pettersen qualified for the ballot through the assembly process.
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