It’s Pettersen vs. Aadland and Caraveo vs. Kirkmeyer in CO-7 and CO-8 races as incumbents lead in the rest

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Election staff worker Evan Siebring lifts a stack of just arrived-mail-in ballots to be weighed at the Arapahoe County Elections Facility and Warehouse on Federal Boulevard in Littleton, Thursday, June 9, 2022. The process of sending out Colorado 2022 primary election ballots began June 6th and the first returns are starting to arrive and the Arapahoe County and similar facilities.

In CO-8, a Republican state Senator will face a Democratic state representative

State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer will be the first Republican to try to represent Colorado’s newest Congressional district.

Kirkmeyer emerged from a crowded primary to win the GOP nomination in the 8th district. Preliminary results Tuesday night showed Kirkmeyer receiving 41 percent of the votes to beat out fellow Republicans Thornton mayor Jan Kulmann, Weld County commissioner Lori Saine and military veteran Tyler Allcorn.

Kirkmeyer currently represents the 23rd district in the Colorado Senate. Before that she spent nearly two decades as a Weld County Commissioner. In 2013, she was a leading figure in the failed secessionist movement in northern Colorado to create a 51st state.

She will face Democrat Yadira Caraveo in November for the general election. The district is rated a ‘toss up’ by most national pollsters.

Caraveo is in her second term in the Colorado House representing the 31st district. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Caraveo is currently a pediatrician in Adams County.

Stretching from Thornton to Greeley, the new 8th district is also the most competitive — split almost equally based on the results of recent races. It encompasses many of the booming suburbs that have driven growth along the northern Front Range. The district also has the largest proportion of Latino residents of any district in the state, with 39 percent of its population identifying that way.

Pettersen and Aadland will compete to replace Rep. Perlmutter in CO-7

After winning the Republican primary, military veteran Erik Aadland now has his sights on flipping the 7th congressional district seat this fall. According to recent election results, the district leans Democratic by about seven points. Aadland emerged victorious from a competitive GOP race, defeating both businessman Tim Reichert and GOP activist  Laurel Imer. 

This November, Aadland will square off against State Sen. Brittany Pettersen, the only candidate on the Democratic primary ballot. The winner will replace Democrat Ed Perlmutter, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

Pettersen has served in the state legislature since 2013, first in the House and now in the Senate. During her time in the legislature, she has focused on education, behavioral health and the opioid crisis.

Aadland has not held elected office before. After graduating West Point and serving in the military, he worked in the oil and gas industry but said he felt called to get involved in politics because he’s concerned about the direction of the country.

“I'm doing this as an act of duty and a heart of service,” he told CPR News.

This election cycle, Pettersen drew in nearly $1 million in funds and had about $650,000 on hand going into the primary, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission filings. Aadland has spent over $450,000 on his race so far, with about $38,000 funds left three weeks ahead of the primary. The best-funded candidate in the race was Reichert, who loaned his own campaign half a million dollars and raised a couple hundred thousand more.

Redistricting shifted the boundary lines of CO-7. Though the district still covers Jefferson County and a slice of Broomfield, it now includes much of the mountains to the west and south. The new boundaries are likely to make the district more politically competitive too, as it has lost blue metro communities in favor of redder rural areas.

Without a primary on either side, Rep. Jason Crow and his Republican challenger proceed to the general election in CO-6

Both the Republican and Democratic candidates in the 6th congressional district were unopposed in their primaries, which means in the general election, incumbent Democrat Jason Crow will face Republican Steven Monahan in this Democratic-leaning district. The 6th district covers much of Aurora and down into Columbine.

Rep. Doug Lamborn victorious in four-way GOP CO-5 primary

Incumbent Doug Lamborn defeated three primary challengers in the Republican contest for Colorado’s 5th congressional district Tuesday night. Lamborn has represented the district – which covers Colorado Springs and its surrounding communities – for 15 years.

State Rep. Dave Williams, Navy veteran Rebecca Keltie and businessman Andrew Heaton trailed behind Lamborn in preliminary results. He will face Democrat David Torres in the general election. The district leans Republican by 20 percent, according to recent election data.

Torres beat out military veteran Michael Colombe in the Democratic primary. Torres has previously served in the United States Air Force Reserves and worked in healthcare administration.

Last year Lamborn voted against certifying the 2020 election and voted in line with the American Conservative Union’s positions 90% of the time.

In CO-4, Rep. Ken Buck handily defeats an impromptu challenger

GOP Rep. Ken Buck is set to run for a fifth term representing Colorado’s 4th congressional district after defeating an unexpected primary challenger. Early returns show the Windsor resident and Freedom Caucus member easily captured the Republican nomination with over 75 percent of the vote.

The primary challenge came from Bob Lewis of Elbert County. In April, at the GOP’s district assembly, Lewis was nominated from the floor and captured 62 percent of the assembly vote to win the top line on the GOP ballot. Lewis had criticized Buck for calling election deniers “conspiracy theorists” and for refusing to vote against certifying the presidential election. There has been no evidence of widespread electoral fraud in the 2020 election.

Colorado’s fourth congressional district is a safe Republican seat. The district — covering most of the eastern half of the state — remained mostly unchanged in redistricting. Stretching from Wyoming to Oklahoma the district also includes Highlands Ranch, Loveland and Castle Rock. 

Buck will run against Democrat Ike McCorkle, who was also his challenger in 2020. Buck won that race by more than 20 points.

Incumbent Rep. Lauren Boebert bests Don Coram in CO-3

In a highly watched but swiftly decided race, Rep. Lauren Boebert won the Republican nomination for Colorado’s 3rd congressional district, beating away a challenge from state Sen. Don Coram.

On the Democratic side, three candidates competed to take on Boebert. Early returns show former Aspen City Councilmember Adam Frisch in the lead, with community activist Sol Sandoval and engineer Alex Walker trailing.

Read CPR’s full story here.

Uncontested CO-2 races set up general election faceoff for Neguse

No Democrats stepped up to challenge Rep. Joe Neguse as he tries for a third term in Congress. He has represented the 2nd congressional district since 2019. The district’s heavily Democratic makeup favors Neguse over his Republican opponent, Marshall Dawson.

CO-1 blowout sets up DeGette for 14th term

In a landslide, incumbent Diana DeGette beat out progressive challenger Neal Walia in the Democratic primary for Colorado’s 1st congressional district. As the longest-serving member of Colorado’s congressional delegation, DeGette first began representing the district in 1997 after a stint in the statehouse.

A son of Indian immigrants, Walia would have been the first person of color to represent the district if he had won the primary and gone on to take the seat. He is an organizer and self-proclaimed grassroots candidate.

In the general election this November, DeGette will take on Republican Jennifer Qualteri, who faced no challengers in her primary. Qualteri hasn’t made any campaign finance filings, compared to DeGette’s $808,000 warchest, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission data. In a blog post on her website, Qualteri defended the Proud Boys, which the Southern Poverty Law Center designates as a hate group.

After redistricting, the district still mostly aligns with Denver’s city limits and leans 57 percent Democratic, based on the outcome of recent elections, making it the bluest district in the state by far. If elected, DeGette will serve a 14th term.