GOP state Rep. Gabe Evans joins contest to challenge Congresswoman Yadira Caraveo

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Republican state Rep. Gabe Evans at the state Capitol, March 1, 2023.

Republican state Rep. Gabe Evans is running for Congress in Colorado's hotly contested Eighth Congressional District.

He’s seeking to challenge Democratic Rep. Yadira Caraveo, who won the newly created seat by 1,632 votes in 2022.

Evans, who’s serving his first term at the state House, is a former Arvada police officer and an Army veteran. In a statement, he said he’s running, “to help restore pride in this great nation for which I fought.”

Among the issues he’s expected to stress are support for law enforcement, reducing inflation, securing the border and parents’ rights. 

Evans criticized Caraveo for her support of President Joe Biden’s agenda during her first year in office. “Just as bad decision-making created many of America's current challenges, good decision-making can create a new era of hope, renewal, and prosperity in our country."

Evans sits on the House Judiciary and Energy and Environment committees, as well as the legislature’s Audit Committee. A number of his bills last session focused on justice issues, including ensuring public employees get time off for National Guard service and studying whether judicial personnel are being properly trained on how to work with crime victims.

So far, one other Republican, Weld County commissioner Scott James has announced a bid for the competitive district that stretches from Adams to Weld County. State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, who lost to Caraveo last year, had considered a rematch but announced this summer she won’t make another run for the seat.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wasted no time criticizing Evans, sending out a statement labeling him an ‘Anti-Abortion Extremist’ with a link to Evans’ responses on an Alliance Defending Freedom candidate questionnaire in which he said he supports prohibiting abortion except when necessary to save the mother’s life. The statement also reiterates James’ opposition to abortion.

The Republican House campaign is not expected to endorse a candidate in the primary race. A spokesperson, however, called out Caraveo for being too extreme for Coloradans.

The Eighth District, which covers the booming suburbs north and east of Denver, is the state’s most competitive seat, with a +1 advantage for Democrats. It was added to Colorado’s congressional map after the 2020 census, to account for the state’s growing population.

With control of the chamber at stake, both national parties are expected to pour money into winning the seat. Caraveo’s victory was one of the closest congressional races last cycle.