Voters guide for Colorado’s 4th Congressional District vacancy election and primary

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Wildflowers and power lines near Interstate 76 in Morgan County, Colorado, July 27, 2021.

Voters in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District face an unusual set of choices this election.

The early retirement of long-time Republican Congressman Ken Buck set off two separate, but related, races.

Voters will decide in this election who to send to Congress to fill out the final months of the current term — Republican Greg Lopez, Democrat Trisha Calvarese, Libertarian Hannah Goodman or Approval Voting Party candidate Frank Atwood. 

On the same ballot, voters who are registered with one of the major parties, or as unaffiliated, will choose among a wide field of either Democrats or Republicans to face off in this fall’s general election. The winner of the November race will take the seat starting with the new Congress in January.

What was already expected to be a hotly contested primary gained added prominence in December, when Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert, who currently represents the 3rd Congressional District, said she would abandon her reelection effort there and instead jump into the race for the 4th District.

But Boebert’s entry didn’t clear the field. Instead, five other Republicans have also secured slots on the ballot. They include current and former state lawmakers, a parents’ rights activist and a business professional. On the Democratic side are a former speechwriter, a former Marine and a manufacturing engineer.

The 4th District encompasses most of the Eastern Plains, but its population centers are along the Front Range, including the suburban cities of Highlands Ranch, Parker, and Castle Rock to the south and Loveland and Wellington to the north. It’s the state’s most Republican seat, with a +26-point lean as of 2020, according to the state’s Congressional Redistricting Committee. 

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the primary and vacancy elections are on separate ballots. Both races will be listed on the same ballot, with the vacancy election appearing at the bottom.

For our voter guide, CPR reporters spoke with candidates, reviewed their websites and watched forums and debates. Top issues were determined by the results of the Voter Voices survey to understand what Coloradans care about in this election. Republican candidates responded to the top concerns of self-identified conservative and moderate voters. Democrats responded to the top issues for self-identified liberal and moderate voters.

A map showing Colorado's eight congressional districts.

Special vacancy election candidates

Republican primary candidates

Democratic primary candidates