In Democratic CU Regents primary, Elliot Hood comes out on top

Elliot Hood has won the Democratic primary for the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents at-large seat, beating Charles “CJ” Johnson, with 53 percent of the votes to Johnson’s 47 percent as of 9 p.m. Tuesday evening. Hood will face Eric Rinard, a Republican, in the November election. 

This race was the only statewide contest on Coloradans’ primary ballots this year. The seat is currently held by Democrat Lesley Smith, who is running for a seat in the state House.

Courtesy photo.
Elliot Hood, at-large candidate for University of Colorado Board of Regents

The nine-person Board of Regents is the governing body that oversees the University of Colorado. Eight of its members are chosen by voters in Colorado’s congressional districts, while the one at-large seat represents the entire state. 

The board oversees the university’s $6.3 billion budget. It sets tuition, fees and compensation and priorities, approves degree programs and hires the president and other top leadership. The University of Colorado’s four-campus system is one of Colorado’s largest employers and generates $17 billion a year into the economy.

Hood is a CU alum, former teacher and an education attorney. His campaign site said he wants to make CU more affordable, expand financial aid, keep the campus free of guns, encourage sustainability, support the collective bargaining rights of workers, and promote diversity, equity and inclusion.

Hood said he’ll work to help the university reach its goal of net zero emissions by 2050 and push the university to set a goal of eliminating direct emissions by 2040. That would require more investment in clean, renewable energy resources for buildings, divest from fossil fuel securities and contracting with green businesses.

He has committed to work to change a policy that prevents some CU employees from unionizing. Hood also is committed to improving retention rates for students and faculty of color and increasing geographic diversity among students.

Hood’s opponent, Charles Johnson, is a CU alum and former champion quarterback, who is vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion at Ball Corporation. The priorities on his campaign website were affordability and financial sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion, mental health and climate change. Johnson was supported by a number of Black state lawmakers and other elected officials. 

Regents serve staggered six-year terms; three new members will be elected this November. Only one, the at-large seat, had a primary election. The other two seats will be filled in November’s election in the 3rd and 5th congressional districts.