Colorado’s 7th congressional district has a new representative — Democrat Brittany Pettersen

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Democratic state Sen. Brittany Pettersen is running for Congress in the redrawn 7th District, against Republican Erik Aadland. Photographed Thursday Aug. 25, 2022, in Lakewood.

Democratic state Sen. Brittany Pettersen will be the next congressperson for the district that now spans from the Denver suburbs of Jefferson County south to Custer County.

Pettersen jumped into the race early and quickly gathered endorsements from fellow Colorado Democrats, including the seat’s current incumbent Rep. Ed Perlmutter. 

In an interview with CPR news in August, she said, “we need regular people who understand the struggles that so many families are facing… I have dedicated nearly my entire career to public service, dedicating it to bettering people's lives here in the community. That's made me who I am. So that's why I was very excited at the opportunity to eventually step up.”

During her time in the legislature, Pettersen focused on legislation around public health, from combating addiction and the opioid crisis to increasing access to family planning. She said, if elected, she would be interested in joining the Energy and Commerce Committee or Ways and Means, while acknowledging that it’s hard for freshman lawmakers to secure spots on those powerful bodies. 

She outraised her opponent in the race, Republican Erik Aadland, who served in the military and worked for an energy company before pursuing office. She also got support from the Democratic leadership PAC and House campaign arm.

The seventh congressional district was seen as a potential pick up opportunity for Republicans when Perlmutter announced his retirement in January. Redistricting gave it a Democratic lean of only seven points, winnable in a Republican wave year. However, the red tide in other parts of the country looked more like a ripple in Colorado. 

Aside from concerns about the cost of living and crime, many voters in the district also told CPR News they’re worried about the future of abortion access and protecting democracy in the wake of the January 6 riot and debunked claims of widespread voter fraud in 2020.