The Democratic incumbent in state House District 30 this Election Day is vying to hold onto a seat she nabbed from a Republican incumbent two years ago.
Republican Susan Kochevar is running against incumbent state Rep. Dafna Michaelson, a Democrat, for HD 30.
The sweeping northeast district runs from Thornton and Henderson in the northwest, through large chunks of north Aurora — including the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus — to the plains of Watkins, Manila and Bennett. More than 80,000 people call the district home, and some 18 percent of those residents live in poverty, according to the Colorado Legislature’s demographic data.
Kochevar, owner and operator of the 88 Drive-In Theatre in Commerce City, has made government de-regulation and tax reduction the center point of her campaign.
“It is my ambition to fight for individuals to live their dreams of opening and growing small businesses by reducing the tax and regulatory burdens,” Kovechar wrote on her website.
Michaelson Jenet, a motivational speaker, author, and president of a nonprofit organization, has focused much of her legislative work on bolstering youth services, including those for juvenile criminal offenders and young people considering suicide.
She said she is currently working on a bill for the upcoming session that would address both of those issues.
“I have a really big bill that would create a pathway to reduce youth incarceration and youth suicide at the same time,” she said.
Regarding controversial “red flag” legislation, which would allow a judge to order law enforcement officials to seize guns from people who are deemed to be threatening or display “red flag” behavior, Michaelson Jenet said she supported last session’s failed “red flag” measure.
“I thought that our red flag legislation was very reasonable and responsible,” she said. “… To me, it’s a way for us to help people be safe and not permanently take away their firearms that they hold dear and important to them, which absolutely, constitutionally is their right.”
Kochevar did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this story.
Michaelson Jenet said she is an advocate for allowing individual cities to hash out rules pertaining to fracking and natural gas management.
“I absolutely do not believe in stepping on what is municipal rule,” she said. “(The Colorado Legislature) would be here if the municipalities reach out to us and said, ‘please help’, but I wouldn’t go that other way around at this point. I think we need to let the municipalities play this one out.”
Michaelson Jenet defeated the incumbent, former state Rep. JoAnn Windholz, by nearly 10 percentage points in the 2016 election. The Democrat netted more than $100,000 in that race.
Kochevar unsuccessfully ran to represent House District 29 in 2014 and 2016. She lost to Democratic incumbent Tracy Kraft-Tharp in both races.
Both Kochevar and Michaelson Jenet are graduates of the University of Denver.
Michaelson Jenet has wildly eclipsed Kochevar in terms of spending, fundraising about $80,000 more than Kochevar, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. Kochevar has raised nearly $4,000 and spent slightly more than half of that total. With the addition of a $1,500 loan, she has about $3,000 on-hand. The incumbent Michelson Jenet has spent about $48,000 of her $84,000 total, leaving her with about $36,000.
Kochevar has been a consistent donor to Republican and Libertarian candidates across the metro area in recent years, including nearly $2,000 in donations to the Libertarian Party of Colorado, according to records filed with the Secretary of State’s office.
A third candidate, unaffiliated Edwardo Quinonez, is also a registered candidate in the race, according to the Secretary of State’s office, although his recent campaign finance reports state he has raised and spent no money to date.