Colorado 2nd Congressional District: Rep. Joe Neguse, Marshall Dawson

Republican candidate Marshall Dawson (left) is challenging Democratic incumbent Rep. Joe Neguse for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District remains a solidly Democratic seat, even as redistricting has shifted its boundaries westward to include Routt County. The last time a Republican held this seat was in the 1970s. And with its new borders, it currently has a +34 Democratic advantage, according to the average of eight previous elections.

In recent years, this seat has been a strong jumping-off point for Democratic candidates seeking higher office. Of the last four people to hold the seat, two went on to the U.S. Senate, and one to the governor’s office.

Joe Neguse — Democrat — Incumbent

Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse is seeking his third term in office to represent Colorado’s 2nd congressional district. He has developed a strong reputation in the House, where he started off his tenure by being selected as one of the co-representatives of his freshman class.

In his first two terms, Neguse has been a prolific legislator, passing a total of 18 bills into law. Sixteen of those had Republican cosponsors; he won an award earlier this year for his bipartisanship. 

The bills passed by Neguse include authorization for a monument to women’s suffrage in Washington, D.C. and whistleblower protections for people who report antitrust activities by their employers.

Some of his bills have been extremely Colorado-focused, such as designating Camp Amache a National Historic Site, renaming a post office to honor Eric Talley, the Boulder police officer killed in the King Soopers shooting, and making small adjustments to the boundaries of National Forests and Parks in the state.

Neguse currently sits on the House Judiciary Committee the House Natural Resources Committee — where he chairs the subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands — and the influential Rules Committee, which controls the flow of legislation to the House floor. Neguse was also tapped for the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. 

He was selected by House Democratic leadership to help lead the floor response to the election objections on January 6th, and then later to serve as a House manager for Trump’s second impeachment in the wake of the Jan 6th capitol riot. Neguse has also shown he’s skilled at brokering deals, including the one that led to a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. 

In 2021, Neguse co-founded the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus with Republican Utah Rep. John Curtis. He was the lead sponsor of the Wildfire Recovery Act, which passed the House in September. 

Neguse has remained on Pelosi’s leadership team and is currently one of the co-chairs of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. 

The son of Eritrean refugees, Neguse is the first Black congressman from Colorado. 

Prior to going to Congress, Neguse was elected to the University of Colorado Board of Regents in 2008 and ran unsuccessfully for Secretary of State in 2014. He attended the University of Colorado where he earned a B.A. in political science and economics in 2005. During his time at CU, he started New Era Colorado, an organization focused on getting young people involved in politics. He attended the University of Colorado Law School and earned his Juris Doctor in 2009. 

Neguse has nearly $1.74 million cash on hand according to his most recent campaign filing as of June 30.

Marshall Dawson — Republican – Challenger

Marshall Dawson, the former Boulder County GOP vice chair, is running to flip Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District. The candidate said in a radio interview that he got into the race because he was “personally affected” by the Biden Administration’s executive orders last year, although he didn’t name any specific ones, and he believes Congress has given away much of its power to the executive branch. 

Dawson is a systems and firmware engineer and currently owns his own company, according to his profile on LinkedIn. He’s running on a platform that includes increasing government transparency, putting “Congress on record for legislative action,” not micromanaging the economy and enacting policies that “empower a stronger America.” 

Dawson did not respond to interview requests from CPR News.

In an opinion piece Dawson penned for the Summit Daily, he outlined his top priorities if elected to Congress. First, he would “ensure domestic peace and tranquility for America’s children” by allocating more funding for school security measures rather than funding security in foreign countries. Second, Dawson said he would work with members of both parties to pass the REINS Act, which would require Congressional approval on all federal regulations that have economic impacts of $100 million or more. Last, Dawson said he would encourage the American entrepreneurial spirit by decreasing the self-employment tax.

Dawson’s website has one blog post, a statement that says the Supreme Court made the “correct decision” in overturning Roe v. Wade, and that the issue should be in the hands of the states. 

According to his website, Dawson was raised in a farm community of 2,400 in Kentucky. He says his upbringing helped him learn that “Americans can flourish when free to determine their own destiny.” He earned a degree in electrical engineering at the University of Kentucky and started his career working for IBM in North Carolina. Dawson moved to Longmont in 1997 and today he runs a development organization for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). He served as the vice chairman for Boulder County Republicans and the former president of Toastmasters North. 

As of early October, Dawson has about $15,500 cash on hand going into November’s election.

CPR's Caitlyn Kim contributed to this report.