Colorado’s newest congressional district, CO-08, was created to be a toss-up seat and it’s living up to that reputation. In 2022, Democrat Yadira Caraveo edged out Republican Barbara Kirkmeyer by just over 1,600 votes, winning with less than 50 percent of the vote due to a third party candidate.
With control of the House once again at stake, both parties are eyeing the eighth. Democrats hope to keep the seat in their column, while Republicans see an opportunity to flip it.
As the incumbent, Caraveo heads into the race with some advantages, including support from the House Democratic campaign arm. But historically, an incumbent is considered the most vulnerable when going up for reelection the first time.
A number of Republicans are lining up to take on Caraveo, in what is expected to be an expensive race.
Here’s a look at who’s running so far.
Yadira Caraveo: The first-term congresswoman scored a key committee assignment for her district. She sits on the House Agriculture Committee and is the ranking member of the Commodity Markets, Digital Assets, and Rural Development subcommittee. She also sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
Her voting record has been moderate, with Caraveo occasionally breaking from the rest of the Democratic Party on various issues, including voting to overturn a federal rule on the lesser prairie chicken to joining Republicans to stop any phase-out of the sale of gasoline-powered cars.
A pediatrician, Caraveo served in the Colorado House before winning her seat in congress.
Caraveo was able to avoid a costly primary when she first ran in 2022, and looks to be headed in that same direction currently, with no announced challengers from her party. As of September 30, 2023, Caraveo goes into the race with more than $910,000 cash on hand.
Joe Andujo: The health insurance consultant filed paperwork to run in the Republican primary in early November. But Andujo, an Air Force veteran, waited to make the official announcement on Veterans Day. He said he’s running because of the “poor state of our economy,” particularly inflation and the U.S. debt. “It’s time for responsible, fiscal restraint by Congress and I plan to work with like-minded legislators to bring down and eliminate most of that debt.”
Andujo has never held elective office before and currently lives outside the district (a representative is not required to live in their district), although he added he has business in the district and is looking to move.
Gabe Evans: Evans was first elected to the Colorado House in November 2022 to represent District 48, which includes parts of Adams and Weld counties. He’s a former Arvada police officer and U.S. Army veteran, who served with the Colorado National Guard. Evans is also the grandson of immigrants from Mexico. In a statement announcing his run, Evans contrasted his “conservative record in the legislature” on law and order issues with Caraveo’s.
“Joe Biden and congressional Democrats have chosen a path of decline for America, and Yadira Caraveo has spent her first year in office enabling their failed policies,” he said in a statement.
During his first year at the statehouse, Evans served on the House Judiciary and Energy and Environment committees, as well as the legislature’s Audit Committee. A number of his bills focused on justice issues, including funding for local law enforcement to run DUI checkpoints and studying whether judicial personnel are being properly trained on how to work with crime victims.
As of September 30, he had just under $96,000 cash on hand.
Scott James: A Weld County commissioner, James was the first Republican to throw his hat in the ring to take on Caraveo, after recently winning reelection to his second term as a county commissioner.
In his announcement, he described himself as a guy “given a gift to communicate, find common ground, and a calling to serve.”
He also touched on a number of concerns he sees with the nation. “Today we live under an increasingly totalitarian state that wants to disrupt our families and dictate how we live our lives. We see evidence every day of a two-tiered justice system that gives special treatment to its friends while persecuting its opponents. We see crime on our streets, yet criminals are not prosecuted. We see parents excluded from their children’s lives in our education system. We see a failing mental and behavioral health system all the while addiction and homelessness reach new heights,” he said.
Before his stint as a county commissioner, James served on the Johnstown City Council, including one term as mayor, and was the former chair of the Weld County GOP. James also was also a local radio host.
As of September 20, he had just under $79,000
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