Heads up, Aurora. There’s an election racing your way, and it promises to be a wild ride.
Sure, if you’re like many in the region, you’re thinking election news is like bad weather these days, always on the horizon.
While the much-watched “mid-term” congressional races capture most of the headlines, November will bring a bevy of consequential choices to every voter across Colorado.
Amid a hailstorm of abortion rights, the pandemic, inflation, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, drought, the climate crisis, rampant gun violence and drug overdoses, immigration woes and more “culture war” issues than you can shake a stylus at, the election season is upon us.
First up is Primary Election Day 2022, next month.
Once reserved for the faithful and fervent of political parties, just about everybody gets a say in the nominations for Republican and Democratic parties in Colorado, if they want.
A relatively recent change in state law allows all registered voters to participate in one primary ballot. It means that unaffiliated voters can choose Republican nominees or Democrats, but not both.
Beginning June 6, Democrats will get a primary ballot for their party and districts. Republicans will get a ballot for their party’s choices.
But proud “U” voters will find two ballots waiting for them in the mailbox.
Vote one, officials say, and toss the other in the recycle bin. Just don’t vote on both because if you do, your primary votes on each are tossed.
Statewide, Republicans and participating unaffiliated voters using that ballot will pick candidates for governor, U.S. Senate and in some cases, congressional and legislative seats.
Unaffiliated electors voting a primary ballot will have that information recorded, and it’s public information. Private is whom you picked. Public is which party ballot you voted. If that matters, don’t vote a primary ballot, election officials say.
Democrats this year statewide will have far fewer choices, as many incumbents are seeking re-election.
In the Aurora region, Democrats are slated to choose a nominee for the House District 42 seat in central Aurora, and Republicans will choose a nominee for the state Senate 27 seat in southeast Aurora.
Other races appear to be statewide.
Arapahoe County Positions
Robert Andrews – GOP
Andrews’ priorities as a candidate include reinstituting the office’s walk-in appointment policy; reducing staff turnover, which he says will improve customer service; and upgrading the office’s website. He has 40 years of experience in real estate, including 25 years in appraisals, as well as “many years” of managerial experience and a master’s degree in leadership and policy studies, according to his campaign website.
PK Kaiser – Democrat
Kaiser was elected to serve as Arapahoe County’s assessor in 2018. His term will expire in January 2023. According to his campaign website, he brings a background in real estate and small business and has degrees in accounting, economics and finance. His priorities as a candidate include fair property assessment and enhancing the transparency and accountability of the assessor’s office.
Joshua Lallement – Libertarian
Lallement has registered to run for the assessor’s position as a libertarian. In 2020, he ran to unseat Republican commissioner Kathleen Conti in District 1, but was defeated along with Conti by Democrat challenger Carrie Warren-Gully. Limited information was available regarding his candidacy.
Huria Taj – unaffiliated
Taj registered to run for assessor as an unaffiliated candidate. Little information was available regarding their candidacy.
Caroline Cornell – GOP
Cornell is a small business owner with experience working in corporate and nonprofit environments. Last year, she became chair of the Girl Scouts of Colorado, according to her campaign website. The website says she hopes to uphold high standards for fairness, accountability, and transparency and administer elections “without provoking political drama.”
Joan Lopez – Democrat
Lopez was elected to serve as Arapahoe County clerk in 2018 after working for close to two decades in the clerk’s office. Her campaign website says she hopes to make voting easier while expanding and simplifying Arapahoe County services and improving fiscal accountability.
District 2 Commissioner
Jessica Campbell-Swanson – Democrat
Campbell-Swanson is running to flip the commissioner seat currently held by Republican Nancy Sharpe. Her campaign website describes her as an attorney, small business owner and former teacher. Some of the focuses of her campaign include supporting the new health department, addressing housing and mental health issues, tackling the rising cost of living and prioritizing community safety.
Mark Gotto – GOP
Gotto formerly served on Centennial’s City Council and works today as the government affairs lead for a telecommunications company. He says he will use his experience in civic and corporate leadership to guide the creation of the county’s new health department, address car and property theft, and “manage waste” within the county’s budget.
Jason Presley – GOP
Presley is a U.S. Navy veteran and law enforcement officer currently working with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office. He currently serves as president of the Arapahoe Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 31. His campaign website identifies as priorities addressing crime in the community and particularly in schools, dealing with the impacts of homelessness and ensuring housing affordability.
District 4 Commissioner
Regina Edmondson – Democrat
Edmondson owns a catering company in Aurora and has been involved with several business and service organizations around the city. Her campaign website says she wants to educate constituents about the services offered by the county government and also serve as a voice for small businesses and minority-owned businesses.
Leslie Summey – Democrat
Summey is a U.S. Navy veteran and small business owner whose platform includes a “housing first” policy for addressing homelessness, prioritizing services for families and servicemembers, expanding funding for community mental health centers and implementing countywide approaches to topics like unequal pay for women, rising rates of domestic violence and reproductive health care access.
Bob Roth – GOP
A small business owner with over 30 years of experience in the commercial and industrial construction industries, Roth formerly served on the Aurora City Council. His campaign website says he would prioritize public safety, affordability, economic development and providing education choices for families.
Kelly Lear – Democrat
Lear has served as the Arapahoe County coroner since 2014, prior to which she worked as a forensic pathologist in the coroner’s office. On her campaign website, Lear says she is committed to maintaining high standards in the office, even as COVID-19 and opioid-related deaths have stretched their resources. While she ran previously as a Republican, she is running this year as a Democrat.
Kat Martin – Libertarian
Martin has registered to challenge Lear as a libertarian. There was minimal information publicly available about Martin’s campaign.
Tyler Brown – Democrat
Brown was elected as sheriff in 2018. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Eastern New Mexico University and previously worked as a law enforcement officer in Northglenn, Mountain View and Aurora Public Schools. Goals mentioned on his campaign website include expanding mental health resources and body-worn camera usage, including in the county’s detention facility; creating a diversion program with the district attorney’s office; and helping those released from the detention facility by providing them with IDs.
Kevin Edling – GOP
Edling is currently a command officer in the Denver Police Department and has served in the Colorado Air National Guard for more than 30 years. He holds degrees in criminal justice, education and professional aeronautics. If elected sheriff, Edling hopes to improve trust between law enforcement and community members, boost recruitment and retention of officers, address property crime and enforce policies around homelessness while connecting those people with resources and services
Scott Liva – Libertarian
Liva is running on a libertarian platform of limited government, supporting gun ownership and opposition to government mandates. His website includes examples of what he believes are examples of unreasonable uses of force by police, which he promises to address.
Michael Westerberg – Democrat
Westerberg currently works as a tax attorney and holds undergraduate degrees in sociology and criminal justice. He studied tax law at the University of Denver. His campaign website says that he will prioritize investing taxpayer money transparently and sharing information about investments and county assistance programs with taxpayers.
Marsha Berzins – GOP
Berzins is a small business owner and former Ward III Aurora City Council member who has worked in accounting, finance, customer service and public relations, according to her campaign website. She also holds degrees in economics and business administration. Berzins says on her website that she would fight against the “fraud, waste and abuse of our tax dollars” as treasurer.
Adams County Positions
Kenneth Musso – Democrat
Adams County’s incumbent assessor was elected in 2018. According to his website, Musso has been working in real estate appraisal since 1999 and worked as a fee appraiser before he was hired by the assessor’s office in 2004 to work as a residential appraiser.
Hieu Nguyen – GOP
Nguyen brings four years of experience working in the assessor’s office, according to her campaign website, which also says that she would support creating satellite offices and more online services to improve accessibility as well as expanding accountability and communication with the public.
Josh Zygielbaum – Democrat
Zygielbaum is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who has worked in the banking and finance industry and who previously served on the Thornton City Council. Since he was elected clerk in 2018, he has worked to modernize the office and improve transparency, efficiency and accessibility, according to his website.
Karen Hoopes – GOP
Hoopes has worked in technical writing, marketing, management, addiction counseling and most recently for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment managing grant programs. Her website says she wants to improve the transparency and security of elections, reducing wait times and fees for DMV services and guaranteeing good customer service for those seeking public records.
District 3 Commissioner
Emma Pinter – Democrat
Pinter was elected commissioner for District 3 in 2018. She is an attorney and previously served two terms on Westminster’s City Council. Her priorities include improving opportunities for success for all who live in Adams County.
Sean Forest – GOP
Forest is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and business owner with degrees in business administration and computer information systems. His local government experience includes serving on the Adams County Planning Commission, the Westminster Special Permits and Licensing Board, and the Businesses of Thornton Advisory Council.
District 4 Commissioner
Steven O’Dorisio – Democrat
O’Dorisio is running for his third term as Adams County commissioner after being elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. Before his election, he worked as a deputy district attorney. O’Dorisio’s priorities include developing an economy that works for all county residents and advocating for public safety and affordability.
Joseph Domenico – GOP
Domenico is a former grocery store worker who works today as the maintenance engineer for Assumption Catholic Church and School and also serves as treasurer on the Adams County Fire Rescue Board, which he began serving on in 1994. Domenico’s campaign website says he wants to promote fiscal responsibility and economic development in Adams County.
Monica Broncucia-Jordan – Democrat
Incumbent coroner Broncucia-Jordan appears to be running unopposed for re-election. She was first elected to her post in 2010.
Gene Claps – Democrat
Claps is a Colorado Ranger who previously worked for the Adams County Sheriff’s Office for close to 20 years. He is currently pursuing a degree in criminal justice. Claps’ platform includes restoring partnerships between law enforcement and mental health care providers, stepping up proactive enforcement in high-crime areas of the county, managing the office’s budget responsibly and prioritizing community policing, according to his website.
Michael McIntosh – GOP
McIntosh is running for his old seat at the helm of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, saying leadership failures have cost the office the community’s respect and trust. McIntosh has three decades of experience in law enforcement, serving as sheriff from 2015 until he retired in 2019. According to his campaign website, McIntosh hopes to rebuild trust, restore partnerships with other law enforcement agencies and address issues like rising crime, mental health problems, homelessness, opioid overdoses.
Richard Reigenborn – Democrat
The incumbent sheriff began working as a reserve police officer for the City of Brighton in 1987 and joined the Adams County Sheriff’s Office in 1991. He is a recipient of the department’s Medal of Valor and a two-time recipient of the Medal of Distinguished Service. According to his campaign website, if re-elected, he will continue to prioritize community involvement and maintaining public safety, service and efficiency.
Dustin Schutt – Unaffiliated
Schutt has registered to run as an unaffiliated candidate for sheriff. Limited information is available regarding his candidacy.
Lisa Culpepper – Democrat
Culpepper, the incumbent treasurer, is running as a write-in candidate after she was defeated by Alex Villagran in the Democratic Party’s county assembly. Her tenure has been marked by controversy after commissioners demanded that a judge hand her duties over to a receiver, claiming communication failures between her office and other county departments could lead to millions in property tax dollars being withheld by the state. She disputes those accusations. According to her campaign website, she previously worked as an attorney and business owner.
Stan Martin – GOP
Martin formerly served as the county’s clerk and recorder from 2015 to 2018 and also brings 13 years of experience in small business ownership and 10 years in corporate management. His priorities will include auditing and investigating county finances, ensuring transparency and promoting a positive environment for county staffers and the public.
Alexander Villagran – Democrat
Villagran says on his campaign website that he is running to fix the “crisis” in the treasurer’s office and that he will protect taxpayer resources. He also says he will improve communication in the county government. Villagran brings a background as a financial adviser and experience as the national treasurer for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Douglas County Positions
Toby Damisch – GOP
Damisch serves as chief deputy assessor in Douglas County and is currently running unopposed to replace term-limited incumbent Lisa Frizell. He promises on his campaign website to advocate for low taxes and limited government.
Sheri Davis – GOP
Davis has served as the Clerk and Recorder’s Office’s deputy of motor vehicles since 2017, prior to which she was the deputy of elections for 12 years and the former manager of recording. According to her campaign website, she will prioritize election integrity, insisting the district attorney investigate potential cases of fraud, and make sure government processes are efficient for taxpayers.
Karen Jefferson – Democrat
Jefferson has registered to run as the Democratic candidate in the clerk’s race. In a YouTube video, she said she hopes to maintain high voter turnout in the county and protect voting from home. Limited information was available about her background and her campaign.
Kory Nelson – GOP
Nelson has worked as a prosecutor in the Denver City Attorney’s Office for more than 30 years and is a U.S. Army veteran and a member of various volunteer organizations in the county. He says on his campaign website that he will fight to protect election integrity, promising to post information online of anyone charged with voter fraud, and oppose the requirement that the county only use electronic voting machines.
District 1 Commissioner
Abe Laydon – GOP
Laydon was elected in 2018 and has registered to run for re-election this fall. He is an attorney who formerly served on the county’s planning commission as well as with other volunteer and civic groups. He is also currently the chair of the Board of County Commissioners. According to his county webpage, his top priorities as a commissioner include cutting taxes, ensuring responsible growth, promoting partnerships between schools and law enforcement and protecting clean air and water.
Lori Rappucci – GOP
Rapucci has also registered to run for the commissioner’s seat as a Republican, though little information was publicly available about her campaign.
Kari Solberg – Democrat
Solberg has registered to run for the seat as a Democrat, though little information was available about her campaign.
RaeAnn Brown – GOP
Brown is currently running unopposed for the position of Douglas County coroner. She brings more than two decades of experience as a medicolegal death examiner as well as a tissue donor coordinator and coroner liaison.
John Anderson – GOP
Anderson spent 40 years in law enforcement, including 30 years in command, before retiring in 2018. He remains a reserve officer of the Weld County Sheriff’s Office. Anderson says on his campaign website that he would oppose what he believes are unconstitutional government mandates and infringements on gun ownership rights, improve officer training, reevaluate the office’s budget, and repurpose funds to focus on school safety, homelessness, rising crime rates, human trafficking and senior safety.
Darren Hill – Libertarian
Hill, a libertarian, has registered to run for the position of sheriff, but little information was available regarding his candidacy.
Holly Nicholson-Kluth – GOP
Nicholson-Kluth has 32 years of law enforcement experience in Douglas County, including 16 years in an executive role. Her campaign website says she hopes to address the “effects of recent legislation and lack of holding criminals accountable for their actions.” As sheriff, she would address rising crime, protect constitutional rights, ensure public safety in schools and promote fiscal responsibility, her website says.
Lora Thomas – GOP
Thomas patrolled the streets of Douglas County for 7 of her 26 years as a Colorado State Trooper. She is one of four Republican candidates for the sheriff’s seat. According to her website, her priorities as sheriff would include opposing new “red flag” laws and other restrictions on carrying firearms, and supporting community responses to mental health issues.
Darren Weekly – GOP
Weekly has served in the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office for the past 28 years, most recently as the Investigations Division – Major Crimes commander. According to his campaign website, as sheriff, he hopes to prioritize Second Amendment issues, put more patrol deputies on the street, address homelessness by connecting the homeless with resources, maintaining the office’s relationship with the Douglas County School District and training deputies alongside school resource officers, and increasing the number of co-response teams.
Dave Gill – GOP
Gill, the incumbent treasurer, is seeking re-election this fall. He is unopposed. Previously, he worked as an auditor for both a major savings bank and the Resolution Trust Corporation, as a loan officer, and as a small business owner.
State House Districts
House District 32
In house district 32, which covers parts of Commerce City and unincorporated Adams County, Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Justin Brown are facing off. Jenet is a Democrat currently representing HD 30 in Commerce City, where she took office in 2017. Before taking office Jenet founded the Journey Institute, which promotes entrepreneurship in underserved communities. In the legislature, she has focused on youth issues, including improving services for foster care and access to mental health services for young people. Brown, a Republican, is a four year resident of Commerce City who works in the oil and gas industry, according to his website. His campaign priorities are listed as improving public safety, reducing the cost of living and defending parental rights in education. HD 32 is currently represented by speaker pro tempore Adrienne Benavidez, who took office in 2017.
House District 36
Democratic incumbent Mike Weissman is running for reelection in House District 36 against Republican William Walters and Libertarian Ryan Miller. Weissman has been representing the district, which covers parts of Arapahoe County and beginning in the 2022 race the parts of Aurora in Adams County, since 2016. While in office he has been a strong proponent of reforming metro districts, which often operate with little oversight or accountability. Ryan Miller is a registered Libertarian living in Aurora, he does not appear to have a public website. Williams Walters is a retired sergeant in the Denver Sheriff’s Department, according to his website. He lists supporting the police, improving road infrastructure and providing oversight of schools as his top priorities. “Colleges and schools should never be used indoctrinate (sic) children to any political agenda or demoralize our children,” his website reads.
House District 42
It’s a crowded race in House District 42. Mandy Lindsay, a Democrat, was appointed to the seat in January after its former representative Dominique Jackson was tapped by the Biden administration to serve in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Lindsay had previously served as Jackson’s aide and said she wanted to focus on continuing her agenda of lowering healthcare costs and promoting affordable housing. Two other candidates who sought the appointment, Eric Nelson and Gail Pough, are also running to carry the Democratic standard in November. Pough is a former Aurora safety inspector who has lived in the district for 21 years, according to her website. Her priorities are listed as healthcare, affordable housing and education. Nelson is a former APS board member who was censured for falsifying much of the information on his resume, including claiming to be a decorated Air Force veteran. On his campaign website, Nelson said his priorities include housing, criminal justice and mental health. Cory Parella, the lone Republican candidate, is running on a platform of combating crime and overhauling the public education system, among other issues. According to his campaign website, he worked in the entertainment industry for many years.
House District 41
In House District 41, which encompasses southwest Aurora and parts of unincorporated Arapahoe County, incumbent Iman Jodeh is running against Stephanie Hancock. Jodeh, a Democrat, is currently serving her first term representing the district. The first Muslim lawmaker in Colorado, Jodeh previously founded the nonprofit Meet the Middle East and worked at the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. While in office she has advocated to increase healthcare protections and access for Coloradans and to increase access to affordable housing, among other issues. Hancock, a registered Republican, is currently the president of the Aurora Cultural Arts District board and the president and co-founder of the 5280 Artist CoOp. Her website lists reducing crime, promoting entrepreneurship and homeownership and developing energy independence as some of her top priorities.
House District 7
In Colorado House District 7, which includes parts of Aurora and northeast Denver, incumbent Jennifer Bacon is running against Mario Valverde. Bacon, a Democrat, took office in 2021 and is serving out her first term, where she has sponsored several bills regarding education access. Bacon was previously vice president of the Denver Public Schools board of education, as well as dean of the charter school network DSST. In 2020, her campaign focused on education, social justice and improving access to affordable housing and healthcare. Mario Valverde lives in Denver and is registered as unaffiliated, according to online campaign documents. He does not currently appear to have a campaign website.
House District 40
In House District 40, incumbent Democrat Naquetta Ricks is running for reelection against Le Sellers. After a failed bid to represent HD 42 in 2016, Ricks was elected to a first term representing HD 42 in 2021. A first-generation immigrant from Liberia, Ricks is a longtime Aurora resident. A former vice chair of the Aurora Public Schools foundation, Ricks is also the co-founder of the African Chamber of Commerce Colorado and a mortgage broker. In office, she has sponsored legislation increasing transparency in HOAs and placing firmer regulations on towing companies, among other issues. Le Sellers is a registered Republican living in Aurora, according to online campaign records. He does not appear to have a campaign website. On LinkedIn, a Le Sellers living in the Denver metro area is listed as a senior business consultant and technical writer.
House District 37
In the newly redistricted House District 37, Democrat Ruby Dickson is running against Republican Paul Archer. The seat is currently represented by Democrat Tom Sullivan, who will be running for a state senate seat in District 27. Dickson is an economist who received a master’s degree from Oxford University. She is running on a platform of improving the economy and keeping down costs of living and renting/homeownership, among other issues. Paul Archer is the vice president of the Coalition to Simplify Colorado Sales Tax and operates a business in Centennial.
House District 61
In the new House District 61, Republican Dave Woolever is running against Democrat Eliza Hamrick and Libertarian Kevin Gulbranson. Woolever is a military veteran who earned a doctorate in education from Liberty University and taught at Johnson & Wales University, according to his campaign website, and has written a series of children’s books. His campaign priorities are listed as education, supporting law enforcement, promoting entrepreneurship and environmental stewardship. Hamrick is a retired teacher who taught history and government at Overland High School for 32 years, according to her website, and has been a longtime advocate for immigrant rights and public education. She has been endorsed by a number of local politicians, including Jason Crow and Janet Buckner. Gulbranson is the previous outreach director for the Libertarian Party of Arapahoe County, and ran unsuccessfully for a seat in HD 56.
House District 9
In House District 9, incumbent Emily Sirota is running against Thomas Cowhick. A Democrat, Sirota has been representing the district since 2019, taking over the seat from now-RTD board member Paul Rosenthal. Previously a social worker, much of Sirota’s legislation has focused on education and campaign finance reform. Cowhick is a registered Republican living in Denver.
State Senate Districts
Senate District 27
In Senate District 27, unaffiliated candidate Travis Barker is running against unaffiliated candidate Matthew Snider, Republican JulieMarie Shepherd Macklin, Republican Thomas Kim and Democrat Tom Sullivan. Sullivan is currently representing House District 37, where he has championed gun safety reform, labor protections and other issues. Macklin serves as academic director of the CU Boulder President Leadership Class and is a former APS school board member running on a platform of educational excellence and choice, public safety and making Colorado affordable. Kim is a business consultant and former bankruptcy lawyer campaigning on education, reducing crime and strengthening the economy. Little public information was available for Barker or Snider.
Senate District 32
In Senate District 32, incumbent Robert Rodriguez is running against Dean Flanders. Rodriguez, a Democrat, was first elected to the seat in 2018. Rodriguez grew up in the Denver suburbs and before taking office worked at his family’s business helping people who had served time in prison re-enter society. While in office he has focused on criminal justice and workforce protections, among other issues. According to campaign filings, Flanders is a Republican living in Denver. Little other public information was available for him.
It’s been 15 years since the state’s top lawmaker represented the Republican party, but following two terms of John Hickenlooper and now one term of Jared Polis, Republicans say they believe the state typically regarded as solid blue is ready for a change.
Republicans Greg Lopez and Heidi Ganahl are running in the June primary to challenge Polis, the Boulder Democrat who was previously the richest member of Congress, in November.
Ganahl is an elected member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents. The former CEO of Camp Bow Wow, a pet care company, from Lone Tree earned her bachelor’s degree from the university and then went on to graduate school at the University of Denver. Ganahl is a mom of four. She started a brand with her daughter in 2019 called “SheFactor” aimed toward young adult women.
Lopez is an Air Force veteran who was elected as Parker’s mayor at the age of 27. Today, he lives in Elizabeth with his wife of 34 years — the two have been candid about a domestic violence incident from 1993. Lopez has two adult children. He was the Colorado Director of U.S. Small Business Administration and a previous president of the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Lopez has expressed concern for the integrity of the 2020 election and supports Mesa County Clerk, an election denier, for Secretary of State. Early on in her candidacy, Ganahl declined to talk to the press about election security.
“Again, why all the divisive questions? Let’s talk about what unites Colorado and what unites Colorado is that our kids are in trouble, crime is skyrocketing, the cost of living is out-of-control, small businesses are being shuttered,” she told 9News political reporter Marshall Zelinger last year during an interview. “That’s what the people of Colorado are focused on and what I want to focus on in my race. Let’s talk the future and building a better future for Colorado.”
Since, a spokesperson for Ganahl said the campaign hasn’t seen any evidence of election fraud.
The two Republican candidates will be searching for as many unaffiliated votes in Colorado as they can muster, though data from previous elections show that those voters are more likely to vote in Democratic primaries than Republican primaries.
Polis is the sole Democratic candidate vying for the office.
This November, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser will once again face the district attorney from Arapahoe County, but this time it’s John Kellner, who in 2020 replaced George Brauchler, the Republican who ran for attorney general four years ago.
Weiser and Kellner will appear on the November ballot.
In announcing his candidacy in November, Kellner wrote in a Colorado Politics op-ed that his top issue is tackling the state’s “crime tsunami.” “A general must lead from the front,” he said.
For the most part, the state’s attorney general acts as the state’s lawyer and has authority over other aspects as well, such as consumer protection, antitrust laws, some complex white-collar crimes, the statewide grand jury, certification of peace officers and many environmental matters.
The office is currently overseeing a first-of-its-kind consent decree over the Aurora Police Department. The office and city last year came to an agreement on remedying claims that local public safety personnel have regularly used excessive force and broken state and federal law by unfairly targeting minorities.
Prior to becoming attorney general in 2019, Weiser worked at the Department of Justice, worked as dean of the University of Colorado Law School and founded the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship.
He marks protecting election integrity, defending the Affordable Care Act, consumer protection, and challenging the federal government’s decision to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as top accomplishments over the last four years.
Arvada Republican Lang Sias, who served in the state legislature from 2015 to 2019, is running in November to unseat state treasurer incumbent Dave Young, a former fellow House member who was elected to the statewide seat four years ago.
Sias, who is an attorney and was also chosen by Walker Stapleton to run for lieutenant governor four years ago, writes on his campaign website that he’s running for treasurer “because Colorado families and taxpayers deserve a champion for them to be a good steward of their dollars and to call out misappropriation.”
The sole Republican in the race is also a former Navy and Air National Guard fighter pilot. He currently serves on a legislative subcommittee that oversees Colorado’s state pension fund and works as an international 777 pilot for FedEx, according to his campaign website.
Sias’s top priority, he says, is fighting inflation and federal policies making Colorado more unaffordable. His platform also includes supporting small businesses and that “retiree pensions are secure and that the burdens on school districts and taxpayers are reasonable.”
Young is a Colorado native. He taught math, science, and technology at a Greeley High School in the late 90s before working for a decade as a technology instructor at the University of Colorado-Denver. He was appointed as a state representative for Greeley in 2011, elected in 2012 and served two more terms.
On his campaign website, Young lists financial literacy, school finance, the state’s pension plan and transparency as top priorities.
The two will appear on the November ballot.
Secretary of State
Add one more group of contests to the white-hot races for Congress and governor that will dominate this year’s midterm elections: secretaries of state.
Former President Donald Trump’s attempts to reverse the results of the 2020 election and his subsequent endorsements of candidates for state election offices who are sympathetic to his view have elevated those races to top-tier status. At stake, say Democrats and others concerned about fair elections, is nothing less than American democracy.
A high-profile race is unfolding in Colorado, where Republican Mesa County clerk Tina Peters, under indictment for a security breach of voting systems, is running to challenge Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat seeking a second term.
Peters has denied the charges, calling them politically motivated. She has been a frequent guest on conservative media and appeared at various events with Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO and Trump ally who has sought to prove voting machines were somehow manipulated in 2020.
In an interview earlier this year, Peters said she was committed to finding the truth of what happened in 2020 and hoped “the powers that be — instead of taking time to attack me — would solve violent crime, would look into election irregularities and find the truth.”
“Americans are going to have a very simple choice — do we want people overseeing elections who believe in upholding the will of the voter regardless of how they voted?” said Griswold. “Or do we want extremist politicians who will do anything it takes to tilt elections in their favor and claim victory regardless of how the American people cast their ballot?”
Colorado Republicans will be deciding who their nominee will be in late June. On the ballot are also GOP candidates Pam Anderson, a former Jefferson County clerk and recorder who told the Colorado Sun she saw Griswold’s hyperpartisanship a problem, and Mike O’Donnell, a Yuma County Republican. His platform is returning the office to its “business roots.”
Beyond overseeing the state’s elections, the secretary of state’s office administers laws and regulates business and commercial statutes for profit and nonprofit corporations, lobbyists, raffles and bingo, and notaries. — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORTING
Board of Education
In the 6th Congressional District for the State Board of Education, incumbent Rebecca McClellan is running for a second term against Molly Lamar and. McClellan, a Democrat, was first elected in 2016. She previously was a city council member for the city of Centennial, and in 2021 was the board’s liaison to the state legislature. Lamar is a parent in the Cherry Creek School District who has voiced opposition to critical race theory being taught in schools. Christopher Otwell is a member of the Unity Party who previously made an unsuccessful bid to serve as a CU Regent. He has a background in engineering and cybersecurity.
6th Congressional District
From former President Donald’s Trump impeachment to the insurrection and foregin policy from Afghanistan to Ukraine, there has been one recurring name from Colorado: Congressman Jason Crow.
The Centennial Democrat, who moved just across the border from Aurora last year, is seeking a third term in Washington this November. His Republican challenger is a political newcomer in Colorado. Steven Monahan is the only Republican running for the seat.
The winner will represent the Sixth Congressional District, which represents much of the far eastern and southern metroplex, including Aurora, Centennial and Littleton
The two opponents have at least one commonality: They’re both military veterans who enlisted after 9/11. Monahan, born in Guam and raised in Texas, joined the Navy in November 2001. He was attending the University of Colorado in Denver prior to his military work. Crow served as an Army Ranger, completing three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That military experience has boosted Crow to the national spotlight. First, serving as an impeachment manager arguing the case against Trump. Crow was among the last Democrats to call for an inquiry into allegations that Trump used his position to pressure Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi launched an inquiry the next day.
Crow’s also been at the forefront of international conflict, advocating that the U.S. must spend more resources in Afghanistan and Ukraine. On national security, Monahan says the Biden administration has “deepened our dependency and decimated our morale.”
While still early in the year, the two will spend the summer campaigning in a district that is mixed politically, though Crow handedly won against former opponents Steve House and Mike Coffman, who went on to be elected mayor of Aurora where conservatives outnumber progressives on the dais.
This summer, two Republicans will seek the nominee in an effort to oust incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet, the state’s senior Senator who was elected in 2009. The duo includes Ron Hanks, Joe O’Dea and Daniel Hendricks.
Hanks is a current Colorado legislator who represents parts of Chaffee, Custer, Fremont and Park counties. Last month, he beat out five other candidates at the GOP’s state assembly, securing 38.96% of the vote.
He’s been a controversial candidate, even among Republicans. The southern Colorado lawmaker attended the insurrection in 2021 and has continuously supported election conspiracies. Former Secretary of State Wayne Williams told The Colorado Sun last month he believes Hanks would “take our party into oblivion.”
O’Dea landed on the ballot via petition signatures. He owns a construction business, which employs about 300 people.
The two will face off on the June primary ballot. The winner will face Bennet in November along with three other candidates of other parties: Frank Atwood of the Approval Voting Party, Teal’c Anderson of the Freedom Party and Aaron Trevino, who is an independent.
Statewide Ballot Questions
There are currently two statewide ballot measures slated for November. The first asks voters to reduce the state income tax rate from 4.55% to 4.40%. It’s an effort by libertarian Jon Caldera of the Independence Institute.
Another would require the governor to designate judges in the 18th Judicial District to serve in the newly-created 23rd Judicial District by Nov. 30, 2024 and confirm residency by Jan. 7, 2025. In 2020, Colorado legislators passed a bill that removed Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties from the 18th, creating the new district. This ballot question was referred by a supermajority of legislators earlier this session.
A bevy of proposed ballot measures are in the signature gathering process. It requires 124,632 valid signatures to land on the November ballot. Petitioners are granted six months to collect those signatures, and must be completed three months before the election at the latest.
Ballotpedia estimates that during even-year elections, the Colorado ballot hosts about 10 statewide questions, so there could still be quite a few to make the ballot.