4th Congressional District: Republican Richard Holtorf

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
GOP state Rep. Richard Holtorf at the 2024 Republican 4th Congressional District Assembly. April 5, 2024, at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo.

The rancher and Army veteran currently spent the past five years in the state House. He launched his bid for Congress from a livestock auction near his home, billing himself as a “no-nonsense conservative.” 

In his announcement, Holtorf said Congress is full of “doormats” who don’t stand up for conservative values. He also took the district’s previous representative, Ken Buck, to task for not pushing the “Trump agenda.”

Holtorf was first appointed to his House seat in 2019 and went on to be elected twice in the district. In the most recent session, he served as Minority Whip and sat on two committees: Agriculture, Water & Natural Resources and Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services. Much of his legislation has focused on agricultural issues.

Holtorf’s tenure at the statehouse hasn’t always been smooth. He dropped his firearm in a public area outside the House chamber and was reprimanded for using a racial slur during a heated discussion on the House floor in 2021.

When he’s not at the capitol, Holtorf manages his family’s Buffalo Springs Ranch near the Washington County town of Akron. Holtorf proudly tells visitors that the earliest known record of the ranch dates back to 1892. 

Holtorf is an Army combat veteran and flew helicopters during two tours of Afghanistan.

Holtorf spoke to CPR News about his positions on some of the issues that are most important to voters in the district.

On democracy and good governance

Holtorf said a top priority of his is to ensure “one U.S citizen, one ballot, one vote,” especially with an influx of new immigrants to the country. 

After the 2020 election, he introduced a bill to audit Colorado’s election system. Its preamble stated, “although our state enjoys a well-deserved reputation for conducting elections competently, professionally, efficiently, and fairly, it is only to the state's advantage to undertake as broad a review of election systems following an election as necessary to ensure that everything has been conducted according to applicable legal standards and nothing improper occurred.” The bill was voted down in its first committee.

Holtorf also supports the Colorado GOP’s efforts to close the party’s primaries to unaffiliated voters.

In general, Holtorf said if elected to Congress he would try to work in a bipartisan manner. He’s managed to pass nearly 30 bills while serving in the minority in the House, many with Democratic cosponsors.

“One hundred percent, I work in a bipartisan manner, but I also push back against very bad public policy legislation that hurts people like rural Americans, people like urban Americans, people who don't want their energy costs to go up, who don't want their food cost to go up, who don't want public safety concerns, that say, ‘we don't want more crime, we want less crime.’”

Regarding former President Trump’s fraud conviction, Holtorf said in a statement that people should wait for the legal process to fully play out, “The Trump court ruling today is very disappointing for many Trump supporters across the country, including me. The legal system is working and the case will need to go through all of the judicial levels, up to and including the US Supreme Court.”

On the economy and cost of living

Holtorf told CPR News this is the issue he hears about most from voters.

“Nobody can afford a home. The interest rates are too high, the price of real estate is too high. The price of groceries at a grocery store is too high. The price of health insurance is too high. The price of homeowners insurance and or health insurance is too high,” he said.

Holtorf said he supports tariffs on Chinese imports as a way to balance the trade relationship, bring more money to the federal treasury and protect the American economy. He also blames government regulations for increasing costs on consumers.

“Reducing regulations that allow for farmers to produce food, enhancing and reducing regulations, but enhancing our ability and cost for transportation to move all these goods across state lines.” Also supports increasing the production of oil and gas.

At a recent debate, Holtorf said, if elected, he would push to make the Trump-era tax cuts permanent.

On immigration

Holtorf said President Joe Biden’s failure to secure the border is exacerbating the shortage of housing and healthcare in the U.S. and that American citizens are paying the cost when new immigrants have babies and need maternity and other health care. 

Holtorf said the country should swiftly deport “unsavory” new immigrants — although he didn’t provide details on who would qualify — while expediting work permits for those with in-demand skills.

“Put them to work if they have skills and trades that can benefit the economy and get them to work as quickly as possible and integrate them under a new provisional work visa,” he said. 

Holtorf said does not support ending the DACA program that protects people brought to the country as children. He also would like to see an expansion of the H2A visa program to bring more agricultural workers to the U.S.