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Doug Lamborn retiring from Congress: What it means for Colorado politics

Voters can expect competitive Republican primaries in Colorado, as all three of the state's Republican-held congressional seats will now be open in 2024.
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Posted at 6:39 PM, Jan 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-05 20:39:37-05

Colorado Congressman Doug Lamborn’s announcement on Friday that he would not seek re-election in November could have a significant impact on the state’s politics and in the balance of power in Washington.

As a result of Lamborn stepping down, all three congressional seats in Colorado held by Republicans are going to be open in 2024, which means there will be competitive primaries.

On paper, Colorado isn't expected to be ultra-competitive come November. But it means in these primaries — which will play out over the spring and early summer — there will be some hard-fought contests taking place.

Doug Lamborn retiring from Congress: What it means for Colorado politics

Lauren Boebert changing districts certainly has made a lot of this even more interesting, as well. Will she win the nomination? All of these districts where Republicans are not seeking reelection or shifting to another district, on paper, favor Republicans. But can Democrats use the lack of incumbents running to their advantage and make some of these races competitive or even flip them?

Whether you're on the Western Slope or whether you're on the eastern plains, the biggest impact of Colorado not having as many long-term, well-known Republican names representing Colorado in Washington is that, no matter what happens, you’re going to be losing some seniority when the new Congress convenes in January of 2025.

doug lamborn

Politics

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn says he won’t seek reelection

Seth Klamann | The Denver Post
10:40 AM, Jan 05, 2024

You may then ask: How does seniority help Colorado?

Well, seniority helps Colorado because you usually have a better committee assignment and you may be able to bring back more resources — maybe land a big grant for your district.

That's the biggest impact of having all of these retirements.

Make no mistake about it. What we are seeing in Colorado with a lot of uncertainty, a lot of change when it comes to these congressional districts that's playing out across the country.

There have been dozens and dozens of congressional retirements already and we expect more as lawmakers return to Washington after talking about reelection plans with their families over the holidays.

Think about it. Big names like former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy decided to leave. We've seen committee chairmen also announce they're not seeking reelection. We've seen individuals who would be on pace to have a lot of power and influence not seek reelection.

So what we're seeing unfold here in Colorado is unfolding across the country. There are a lot of retirements — members of Congress deciding not to seek reelection.

It's a hard job to represent Colorado in Congress. You’ve got to get on a flight at DIA, or you’re flying out of Colorado Springs often. It's a lot of back and forth. It's not an easy flight — about three-and-a-half to four hours. You spend a lot of time away from your family.

Does this signal a larger movement in Colorado?

It's going to be interesting to see if Lamborn’s seat becomes a bit more competitive. On paper, it's a Republican seat. Democrats, on paper, don't stand much of a chance of winning it.

But if you speak to some Democrats in Colorado, they believe that, with the demographic shifts, all the people moving to El Paso County, and plenty of people moving down I-25 from the Denver-Boulder area, the conservative district could one day become more purple or even blue.