River Gassen extends lead in CD5 Democratic Primary overnight, pulling nearly 500 votes ahead of Joe Reagan

Courtesy photos.
5th Congressional District candidates in the Democratic primary River Gassen (left) and Joe Reagan.

Updated at 6:50 a.m. on Wednesday, June 26, 2024

With 99 percent of votes counted, River Gassen leads Joe Reagan by 459 votes as of Wednesday morning.

River Gassen and Joe Reagan were in a dead heat as of Tuesday night in the Democratic Primary in Colorado's 5th Congressional District.

As of 11:53 p.m., Joe Reagan had 49.92 percent (19,022 votes) to River Gassen’s 50.08 percent (19,080 votes). The 5th District is located in El Paso County.

Reagan told CPR News Tuesday night he thought his lead would hold.

“It's tighter than we expected,” he said, “still very much in our favor, I think.”

But he said if Gassen overtakes him and prevails, he’ll accept that result. “We will respect the will of the voters,” he said.

Reagan, a first-time political candidate, is a former Army officer who for years consulted as an executive for non-profits. He said he thought his campaign message resonated with voters in a district that’s about 20 percent Democratic, 30 percent Republican and 50 percent independent.

“I think what people really are tired of is the hyper-partisanship, the over polarization of the electorate, especially in a county like El Paso, where half of our electorate are unaffiliated voters,” he said.

Reagan said the districts large amount of unaffiliated don’t represent a solid block, but believe the parties struggle to represent them.

“They're looking for someone that represents that moderate middle, that moderate majority that is more interested in the candidate who's willing to stand up and do what is right for the community than to do what is right for the party,” he said. “And that was the message that we've brought since day one.”

If he wins, Reagan will face Jeff Crank who handily beat Dave Williams in the GOP primary 66 percent to 34 percent.

He said both Crank and Williams represent an extreme side of the Republican party.

“I think that 70 percent of voters believe in a woman's right to choose," Reagan said. "And Jeff Crank has come out explicitly and said that he is 100 percent against a woman's right to choose."

"I think that that's not going to be the issue of this election, but it is certainly something that we can look at and say, if you want Colorado to start looking like what's happening in Texas and Alabama, vote Republican because that's exactly what they want to see.”

Gassen, a first-time candidate with a background in physics and biomedicine, did not return a text or email for comment.