DENVER — Ballots went out earlier this month for the Nov. 8 midterm election in Colorado, during which voters will decide on 11 statewide ballot initiatives, the state's top offices, a U.S. Senate seat, eight Congressional seats, and the balance of the state House and Senate.
In our ballot guide, you can find information about each candidate running for the four top statewide seats in Colorado, the U.S. Senate seat and the eight congressional seats.
Now that we are a week from Election Day, people are advised to drop their ballots at the nearest dropbox or to vote at an in-person polling place. People can register to vote in Colorado up to and on Election Day.
Jared Polis (Democrat, incumbent)
Gov. Jared Polis beat Republican Walker Stapleton by more than 10 percentage points in 2018 to win the governor’s seat, and polling released in the weeks before Election Day this year have shown he could be headed to another wide-margin victory over Republican challenger Heidi Ganahl, as he has generally led those polls by 10+ percentage points. Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera is again his running mate.
Polis has made “saving people money” the focus of his governorship and campaign over the past two years, pushing for free Pre-K and kindergarten, lowering taxes on small business and property owners, implementing the Colorado Option, capping insulin prices, and sending TABOR refunds to Coloradans early this year in the face of inflation.
Polis has also signed numerous consequential bills during his four years in office, including the red flag law, the sweeping criminal justice and police reform bill, the bill enshrining abortion access in Colorado statute, bills lowering criminal penalties for certain crimes but also increasing penalties for fentanyl possession and trafficking, and several to address Colorado’s water, drought and wildfire issues.
Polis has also guided Colorado through the COVID-19 pandemic, mass shootings at the Boulder King Soopers and STEM School Highlands Ranch, the devastating 2020 wildfire season that brought the three largest wildfires in state history, and the 2021 Marshall Fire in Boulder County that was the most destructive in the state’s history, destroying nearly 1,100 homes.
If Polis gets a second term, he says he hopes to continue to push for more affordable housing across the state and putting the state on a path to using only renewable energy by 2040 while upping the number of electric vehicles on Colorado roads. He also wants Colorado to become one of the nation’s safest states after spikes in crime during the pandemic, and says he wants to continue to push for higher pay for teachers and smaller class sizes.
As of Oct. 12, Polis had $1.6 million cash on hand. He has given his campaign more than $11 million.
Click here to watch our full interviews with Gov. Jared Polis and Heidi Ganahl.
Heidi Ganahl (Republican)
Heidi Ganahl was the last Republican elected to a statewide office in Colorado when voters elected her to the CU Board of Regents the year Polis was elected governor. She defeated Greg Lopez in the June primary 53% - 47%. Danny Moore is her running mate.
Ganahl, who launched her political career after selling her dog day care Camp Bow Wow, has tried to portray herself at times as a “Reagan Republican” but has tried to walk the line between the classic Republican Party and the more extreme right-wing factions that have increasingly taken hold of the party.
Ganahl has consistently hammered crime and homelessness in Colorado as being among her top priorities should she win the governorship and has blamed Polis for its rise during the pandemic due to changes to bonds and sentencing for certain crimes. She has said she would work to enforce camping bans in Colorado cities.
More recently, she has focused her energy on schools and claims that Colorado children are identifying as cats, “furries,” and are using litterboxes – claims that have widely been debunked, but which come from a conservative school movement that also favors more charter schools.
She picked Danny Moore as her running mate, who was removed as the chair of the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission over election conspiracy theory posts he made online.
Ganahl also wants to cut about $11 billion in government funding for Colorado by abolishing the state’s income tax, though she has not specifically said how she would replace that money in the budget, only discussing an audit and hiring freeze.
Ganahl supported the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs which effectively overturned Roe v. Wade. She says she supports abortions in the case of rape or incest, or for the health of the mother and fetus, but she opposes the Reproductive Health Equity Act signed by the governor earlier this year.
She acknowledges that humans play a role in causing climate change and said she would take a “more balanced” approach to renewable energy that would include producing more oil and gas in Colorado.
Ganahl says she wants to expand water storage capacity in Colorado as states figure out how to deal with the Western megadrought and drying Colorado River, and said she wants to thin out dead forests in Colorado and use more prescribed burns to tamp the potential for large, destructive wildfires.
As of Oct. 12, Ganahl had $342,095 cash on hand.
Click hereto watch our full interviews with Gov. Jared Polis and Heidi Ganahl.
Paul Noël Florino/Cynthia Munhos de Aquino Sirianni — Unity Party of Colorado
Danielle Neuschwanger/Darryl Gibbs — American Constitution Party
Kevin Ruskusky/Michele Poague — Libertarian Party
Paul Willmon/Kathren May — Unaffiliated (Write-In)
Zachary Varon/Sean Hoyt — Unaffiliated (Write-In)
Michael Bennet (Democrat, incumbent)
Sen. Michael Bennet has been one of Colorado’s two U.S. senators since he was appointed by Gov. Bill Ritter to replace Ken Salazar in 2009. He has won his prior two races, defeating Republican Darryl Glenn by 5.7% in 2016 and Republican Ken Buck by 1.7% in 2010.
Since he last won election in 2016, 37 measures he has cosponsored have become law. He’s had 247 measures he has either cosponsored or sponsored pass either the Senate or House, including a resolution he sponsored. He ran for president for about nine months in the 2020 cycle before dropping out and endorsing Joe Biden.
Bennet was key in getting the child tax credit expansion put in place by President Biden last year and has been a proponent in pushing forward measures tied to Colorado’s outdoors, environment and wildfire and water resilience – most recently helping secure President Biden’s designation of the Camp Hale – Continental Divide National Monument and helping secure extra funding for victims of the Marshall Fire as they begin their recovery.
Bennet helped Amache get designated as a national historic site, voted in favor of the American Rescue Plan Act and infrastructure bill, voted twice to convict former President Donald Trump in his impeachment trials. He has also supported abortion rights, voting against a 20-week abortion bill and in May voted to proceed to debate on the Women’s Health Protection Act as Democrats worked to secure abortion rights in the face of a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion that eventually overturned Roe v. Wade protections at the federal level, though the vote failed. Bills he’s introduced regarding broadband, clean water access for tribes and carbon capture have also been included in larger bills signed into law.
Bennet had raised $18.2 million since the start of 2021 and had $4.9 million cash on hand at the end of September, according to the Federal Elections Commission.
Click here to watch our full interviews with Sen. Michael Bennet and Joe O'Dea.
Joe O’Dea (Republican)
Joe O’Dea is a businessman who owns his own construction company, which he started when he dropped out of Colorado State University and has grown into one that employs more than 300 people.
His bid to unseat Bennet is his first foray into seeking political office and he has tried to paint himself as an outsider because of that. However, he has campaigned with and received support from several prominent Republicans — including Mitch McConnell, Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and Chuck Grassely — in the months since he won the Republican primary over others who were generally further to the right than him as his campaign seeks to keep up with Bennet’s fundraising and spending.
O’Dea has said he will vote his conscience if he is elected to the Senate and not only on the party-line.
He has said he would back a law to again codify the protections of Roe v. Wade to allow for abortions up to 20 weeks — and beyond in the case of rape, incest, or to protect the mother’s life. But he also signed a 2020 petition that sought to put a measure seeking to ban abortions after 22 weeks, The Colorado Sun reported. He also says wants to provide citizenship to DACA recipients.
But he has taken the party line on some other topics — like mischaracterizing the move by the Internal Revenue Service to hire tens of thousands of new employees to try to recoup more owed tax money and saying that none of them should be hired, the money instead put elsewhere, like toward border security.
O’Dea said he was opposed to the federal gun regulation bill passed by members of both parties in Congress earlier this year, which was signed into law by President Biden.
O’Dea has also faced attacks from his own party — sometimes on his abortion stance — but also from his primary challengers who lost and from the former president himself.
Rep. Ron Hanks, the far-right state representative who lost to O’Dea in the primary, endorsed the Libertarian candidate in the race and called O’Dea a “fake Republican.”
And former President Trump called O’Dea a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only) and wished O’Dea “good luck” by saying: “MAGA doesn’t Vote for stupid people with big mouths.”
That came after O’Dea said he would campaign against Trump, though he has also said he would vote for Trump in 2024 if he runs and is the Republican nominee.
O’Dea has raised about $6.4 million since July 2021, spent $5.7 million, and had $712,267 cash on hand at the end of September.
Click hereto watch our full interviews with Sen. Michael Bennet and Joe O'Dea.
T.J. Cole — Unity Party of Colorado
Brian Peotter — Libertarian Party
Frank Atwood — Approval Voting Party
John Carleton Rutledge — Libertarian Party (Write-In)
Robert Messman — Unaffiliated (Write-In)
Joanne Rock — Unaffiliated (Write-In)
Tom Harvey — Unaffiliated (Write-In)
U.S. House of Representatives
1st Congressional District
Diana DeGette (Democrat, incumbent)
Rep. Diana DeGette is running for reelection to what would be her 14th term as Colorado’s 1st Congressional District member of Congress, representing Denver. She is Colorado’s longest-serving member of Congress currently.
DeGette defeated Neal Walia 85% - 15% in this summer’s primary. She handily won the midterm election in 2018, 74%-23% over Republican Casper Stockham. In 2020, she beat Republican Shane Bolling in the General Election 74%-24%.
DeGette currently chairs the House Oversight and Investigations subcommittee and has been a major voice in the push to pass abortion rights at the federal level. She has also seen action on a bill of hers to ban high-capacity gun magazines. As chair of the subcommittee, she has also led committee hearings on the baby formula shortage, cryptocurrency, and COVID-19, among others. She also served as one of the impeachment managers in former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial.
DeGette has cosponsored nine measures over the past two years that became law, and has sponsored or cosponsored 77 pieces of legislation that have passed one chamber, including her Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act.
DeGette has raised $1.08 million this cycle and spent $992,000. As of Oct. 19, she had $372,00 cash on hand, according to FEC records.
Jennifer Qualteri (Republican)
Jennifer Qualteri is an accountant who is running as a longshot Republican candidate in a district her opponent has served in the U.S. House for 13 terms.
Her website is scant on details about her positions on various topics, but in interviews with The Denver Post and CPR News, she says she wants to focus, should she be elected, on reducing the deficit, increasing wind and solar energy production, being sure college is affordable, and on upping the housing stock by 3D printing homes.
She says she does not think Congress should be making federal decisions regarding abortion and that the matter should be left to the states to decide. But she also claimed to The Denver Post that federal abortion rules “could lead to forced abortions to receive food, housing, etc.”
She ran unopposed in the primary and received around 13,000 votes.
The FEC does not have any filings for Qualteri on the record.
John C. Kittleson — Libertarian Party
Iris Boswell — Green Party (Write-In)
2nd Congressional District
Joe Neguse (Democrat, incumbent)
Rep. Joe Neguse is running for reelection to what would be his third term representing Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes Boulder, Fort Collins, the I-70 mountain corridor and the northern mountains.
Neguse did not face a primary challenger for the second election cycle in a row. He handily defeated Mark Williams in the 2018 primary and went on to beat Republican Peter Yu 60.3-33.6% in the General Election that year. In 2020, Neguse defeated Republican Charles Winn 61.5-35.4% in the General Election.
Neguse has taken on a larger role in his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was one of the impeachment managers, along with DeGette, for former President Trump’s second impeachment trial.
He has also been the face of Colorado’s U.S. representatives and senators in the local and legislative responses to the Boulder King Soopers shooting and Marshall Fire, which both occurred last year in Neguse’s district – pressing for stricter gun legislation and better local match funding from the federal government in the wake of the fire that destroyed more than 1,000 homes on Dec. 30. Neguse also founded the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus in response to the 2020 fires in his district and has introduced and moved several pieces of legislation aimed at addressing the wildfire threat in the West. He was also involved in the push to get Camp Hale designated as a national monument — an action President Biden took in October.
He has had 17 pieces of legislation that he either sponsored or cosponsored become law since his last reelection in 2020, including the Amache National Historic Site Act and measure to rename a post office in Boulder after fallen Officer Eric Talley, both of which he was the prime sponsor.
Ten other measures Neguse is the prime sponsor of have passed one chamber in the current term of Congress, and 96 others have passed at least one chamber which he cosponsored.
Neguse has raised about $2.2 million this cycle and spent $1.2 million as of Oct. 19. He has about $1.85 million cash on hand.
Marshall Dawson (Republican)
Marshall Dawson is a Kentucky native who moved to Longmont in 1997 and works as an open-source firmwear engineer. He is a former vice chairman of Boulder County Republicans.
His website says he “is determined to hold both President Joe Biden and Congressman Joe Neguse answerable for enacting policies that have imposed tremendous harm on Coloradans and the American people.”
He questions why Congress is investing so much in Ukraine and says he wants Congress to invest more in stopping gun violence at schools and wants to focus on fighting fentanyl shipments coming into our country.
He says he wants to investigate the Biden administration, repeal the PATRIOT Act, put more regulatory power in the hands of Congress, add sunset clauses to all major legislation and have roll call votes for “all consequential legislation.” He calls the Inflation Reduction Act a “harmful piece of legislation.”
Dawson has raised about $45,000 since the start of April and spent about $23,000 of it. As of the end of September, he had $22,000 cash on hand.
Gary L. Nation — American Constitution Party
Tim Wolf — Unity Party of Colorado
Steve Yurash — Colorado Center Party
3rd Congressional District
Lauren Boebert (Republican, incumbent)
Rep. Lauren Boebert is running for reelection to what would be her second term representing Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, which covers the Western Slope, most of southern Colorado, and the Pueblo area.
It will be the first election Boebert faces as an incumbent after she defeated sitting Republican Rep. Scott Tipton in the 2020 primary and Diane Mitsch Bush by a little more than 6 percentage points in the 2020 General Election. She defeated Don Coram 64% - 36% in the June primary.
Boebert has been among the most polarizing members of Congress, teaming up with the House Freedom Caucus and Marjorie Taylor Green, Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar, who have formed the farthest-right wing of the Republican caucus in Congress.
She was involved in pushing false election conspiracy theories that led to the Jan. 6 insurrection. Some of her votes against bills have made bigger news than legislation she has voted to pass – including votes against bills aimed at addressing the formula shortage and a bone marrow registry. She also objected to the certification of Joe Biden as the next president on Jan. 6.
The three measures that have become law that she cosponsored were the Neguse-sponsored measure on renaming the post office in Boulder after Officer Talley, one awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to servicemembers who died during the Afghanistan evacuation last year, and the Patient Advocate Tracker Act. Of the six measures she has cosponsored, seven have passed the House, including the three mentioned earlier. She has not sponsored any legislation that has passed the House or Senate.
Boebert voted against many of the bills signed by President Biden or passed by the House over the past two years, including COVID-19 related measures, the Women’s Health Protection Act, the Build Back Better Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the American Rescue Plan Act.
Boebert has raised $6.7 million this cycle and spent $6.4 million as of Oct. 19. She has about $614,000 cash on hand.
Adam Frisch (Democrat)
Adam Frisch is a former Aspen City Council member and businessman who is trying to unseat Rep. Lauren Boebert in the 3rd Congressional District, which got more conservative during redistricting according to an average of statewide elections since 2016.
Frisch narrowly won the Democratic primary by 0.5 percentage points over Sol Sandoval. He has been working to find a balance between winning over unaffiliated and Republican voters in a district Boebert won handily in 2020 and winning over people nationwide who oppose one of the most firebrand politicians in Congress in order to compete with her fundraising.
Frisch describes his policy positions as “moderate” and praises bipartisanship as “the only way to get stuff done” who would like to join the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus if he gets elected.
Frisch’s father and sister were and are OB/GYNs and he says he believes Congress should enshrine Roe v. Wade protections in federal statute.
He has also talked about wanting to push for more renewable energy in Colorado but said he is supportive of the oil and gas and coal industries on the Western Slope.
Frisch supports the Inflation Reduction Act and the water, health care, drought and climate aspects it contains. And he says if he is elected, he wants to fight to increase teacher pay and per-pupil funding for rural districts and continue to increase broadband access in rural communities in Colorado to support education and health care.
Frisch has said he believes there is a faction of Republicans and unaffiliated voters tired of MAGA politics whom he hopes to win over and calls the current state of politics a “circus” on all sides. But he has sharply criticized Boebert, saying she is too distracted tweeting “nonsense” and calling her too extreme for Congress.
But Boebert’s national profile has also increased his among people across the country. As of mid-October, he has raised $5.2 million, spent about $4.5 million and had $743,000 cash on hand.
Marina Zimmerman — Unaffiliated (Write-In)
Richard “Turtle” Tetu — Unaffiliated (Write-In)
Kristin Skowronski — Unaffiliated (Write-In)
4th Congressional District
Ken Buck (Republican, incumbent)
Rep. Ken Buck is running for reelection to what would be his fifth term representing Colorado’s 4th Congressional District, which covers the Eastern Plains.
Buck was the Weld County District Attorney before he became a congressman and unsuccessfully ran against Michael Bennet in the 2010 U.S. Senate race. He sits on the House Foreign Affairs and Judiciary Committee and is the ranking member on the Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law subcommittee.
Buck defeated Robert Lewis 75% - 25% in June’s primary in his first primary challenge since 2014, when he defeated Republican Scott Renfroe, Barbara Kirkmeyer and Steve Laffey and went on to win the General Election by more than 100,000 votes.
Buck has also not faced any close General Election races in years. He won the 2018 General Election 60.6-39.4% over Karen McCormick and by nearly 80,000 votes, which was the narrowest margin since 2014.
During his most recent term, Buck has focused on U.S. social media and tech giants and their control over speech on their platforms. He also worked with Neguse on the Amache National Historic Site bill that became law and cosponsored the Talley post office renaming measure.
Six other measures Buck cosponsored have become law over the past two years. In total, 20 measures he cosponsored passed at least one chamber during the 117th Congress.
Buck voted against impeaching former President Trump a second time after the Jan. 6 insurrection, saying ahead of the vote: “I’ve heard that President Trump radicalized the group that – the rioters who stormed this Capitol,” he said. “…Americans were frustrated when they learned that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign.”
Buck has raised about $1.5 million this cycle and spent $1.2 million as of Oct. 19. He has $577,000 cash on hand.
Ike McCorkle (Democrat)
Ike McCorkle is a retired Marine, combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient who lives in Douglas County who faces Rep. Ken Buck (R) for a second election in a row. He lost to Buck in 2020 60%-37% and by more than 110,000 votes in the Republican-leaning district. He did not face primary challengers in 2020 or this year.
On his website, McCorkle lists 20 policy areas he’d like to focus on, including agriculture, climate, the military and veterans, campaign finance reform, health care and more.
The first listed is agriculture and climate, particularly in rural Colorado, which McCorkle has said will be his top focus should he be elected. He says he wants to support renewable energy efforts and regenerative farming, give more power back to local farmers and livestock producers.
As of mid-October, McCorkle had raised $283,000 and spent $243,000.
Ryan McGonigal — American Constitution Party
5th Congressional District
Doug Lamborn (Republican, incumbent)
Rep. Doug Lamborn is running for reelection to what would be his ninth term representing Colorado’s 5th Congressional District, which includes Colorado Springs and some of the surrounding area.
Lamborn sits on the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Armed Services and is the ranking member of the Readiness subcommittee.
Lamborn won reelection in 2020 57.6-37.4% over Jillian Freeland. He defeated three primary challengers, including Rep. Dave Williams, in June’s primary, garnering 50% of the vote overall among the four.
Before this year, he last faced a primary challenger in 2018, when he beat Darryl Glenn, Owen Hill, Bill Rhea and Tyler Stevens, before defeating Stephany Rose Spaulding in the General Election by more than 17 percentage points.
The closest elections Lamborn has faced were in 2014, when he defeated Bentley Rayburn in the primary by around 3,800 votes and defeated Democrat Irv Halter in the General Election by about 52,000 votes.
Over the past two years, Lamborn has focused on the move of Space Command from Colorado to Alabama and the multiple investigations into how it happened under former President Trump’s watch, pushed back against China and COVID-19 vaccine requirements, and championed abortion restrictions.
Six measures which Lamborn cosponsored, including the Congressional Gold Medal for the Afghanistan Troops and Talley post office renaming, have become law. Ten others passed the House. Lamborn has introduced 12 pieces of legislation this Congress, most of them tied to abortion, Christianity, fentanyl or Big Tech.
Since taking office in 2007, Lamborn has sponsored four pieces of legislation that have become law, two of which involved designating post offices and a VA outpatient clinic.
Lamborn has raised about $486,000 and spent $672,000 as of Oct. 19. He has $672,000 cash on hand.
David Torres (Democrat)
David Torres is new to the political arena and has focused his efforts thus far in the Republican-leaning district on winning the vote of the growing Latino community in Colorado Springs, untapped Democratic voters, and leaning on his pro-choice stance in an election year in which abortion has become among the top issues nationwide and in Colorado.
He won the Democratic primary in June by nearly 9 percentage points over Michael Colombe.
On his website, Torres says he moved to Colorado Springs at age 4 from Puerto Rico and joined the Air Force Reserves after graduating from Liberty High School there.
Torres says he wants to unite the district and that he will work with Republicans when necessary “to do what is best for the people” of his district.
Torres has raised about $25,500, spent $15,200 and had $9,300 cash on hand as of mid-October.
Brian Flanagan — Libertarian Party
Christopher Mitchell — American Constitution Party
Matthew Feigenbaum — Unaffiliated (Write-In)
6th Congressional District
Jason Crow (Democrat, incumbent)
Rep. Jason Crow is running for reelection to what would be his third term representing Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, which is centered around Aurora and includes parts of Adams, Douglas and Jefferson counties.
Crow, a former Army Ranger, sits on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Armed Services Committee and Committee on Small Business and ran unopposed in the primary for a second election term.
Crow defeated Republican Mike Coffman by 11 percentage points in the 2018 election and beat Republican Steve House by 17 percentage points in 2020.
After serving as one of the impeachment managers during former President Trump’s first impeachment trial, Crow’s second term has also been marked by his response to several major events. He became one of the major voices in the push to impeach Trump a second time after the events of Jan. 6, when he was one of the lawmakers trapped in the House chambers initially.
He has pushed for more gun control measures in the wake of the Boulder King Soopers and other mass shootings over the past two years and has been one of the Democrats’ top voices since Russia invaded Ukraine because of his committee assignments and military experience. Crow was one of a handful of Democratic lawmakers to travel to Ukraine and meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier this year.
In the last two years since Crow was reelected, he has sponsored one measure, to rename a VA clinic in Aurora, and cosponsored 15 others that became law. In total, he has sponsored five measures and cosponsored 80 others that have passed at least one chamber over the past two years, including some addressing special immigrant visas, cyber awareness, and small business growth.
Crow has raised about $2.58 million this cycle and spent $2.1 million as of Oct. 19. He has $1.7 million cash on hand.
Steven Monahan (Republican)
Steven Monahan is a Navy veteran who ran unopposed in the Republican primary in the district, which leans Democratic after redistricting.
He says his top priorities are working to lower inflation and crime and to make government smaller. He says he wants to increase security at the border, blaming it for the rise in fentanyl on America’s drug black market. Monahan calls the Inflation Reduction Act “not good for Americans” and he says Colorado needs to get back to more oil and gas production.
Monahan said he agreed with the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs and that abortion and reproductive rights should be in the hands of each state to decide. He believes “Big Tech” is censoring people and allowing misinformation to spread and told The Denver Post: “No one should be cavalierly calling our election integrity into question.”
Monahan had raised $216,000 and spent nearly $210,000 as of mid-October and had $7,200 cash on hand.
Eric C. Mulder — Libertarian Party
7th Congressional District
Brittany Pettersen (Democrat)
Brittany Pettersen is currently a state Senator from Lakewood who has been endorsed by the longtime Democratic Congressman for the 7th Congressional District, Ed Perlmutter, who decided not to seek re-election. She ran unopposed in the primary after being endorsed by most of Colorado’s top Democrats.
She won election to the Senate in 2018 by more than 16 percentage points and served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 2013 to 2018 prior to that.
The chair of the Senate Finance Committee and vice chair of the Transportation and Energy Committee, Pettersen was one of the sponsors of Colorado’s extreme risk protection order bill and has also passed laws surrounding equal pay, the opioid epidemic and mental health.
She briefly ran for the 7th Congressional District seat in 2017 when Perlmutter was considering a governor’s bid but dropped out when he decided to run for re-election. She is a native of Jefferson County and graduated from Chatfield High School and Metropolitan State University — the first in her family to graduate college.
Pettersen says if she wins and Democrats can keep hold of the House, she wants to pass a law codifying abortion and reproductive health care protections at the federal level and strengthen democratic protections for voters in the wake of election denialism spreading across right-wing factions of the country.
She said she also wants to work on implementing more gun safety laws, focus heavily on things that can address the changing climate, and build off the Inflation Reduction Act’s investments in Colorado’s water and climate.
Her mother’s struggles with opioid addiction have made her a prominent voice in the fight against the opioid epidemic in Colorado, and Pettersen says continuing to fight addiction while also lowering health care and prescription costs will be priorities for her.
Pettersen has raised $2.4 million since the start of 2021 and spent about $1.6 million. She ended September with $874,786 cash on hand.
Erik Aadland (Republican)
Erik Aadland is a West Point graduate and Army veteran who works in the energy sector. He is trying to be the first Republican to hold the seat since Bob Beauprez in 2006 in a district that has elected Ed Perlmutter every election since then and which still leans Democratic after redistricting.
Aadland has said the 2020 election was “rigged” but more recently acknowledged that President Biden won the election, and has focused on inflation, crime and fentanyl as among his top issues he says he wants to address if he is elected.
He says he does not support any actions by Congress regarding abortion — either to ban it or to codify abortion protections at the federal level. He says he wants to reduce regulations and government spending and says some of his top issues should be agreeable between both parties, though he calls Democrats’ recent policies hyper-partisan.
He wants to bolster the oil and gas industry in Colorado and says the federal government can’t be trusted to have as much of a hand in the health care and insurance market as it currently does.
Aadland has raised $1.33 million this cycle and spent $1.29 million and had about $49,000 cash on hand as of mid-October.
Ross Klopf — Libertarian Party
Critter Milton — Unity Party of Colorado
JP Lujan — Unaffiliated (Write-In)
8th Congressional District
Yadira Caraveo (Democrat)
Dr. Yadira Caraveo is a pediatrician in Thornton who has also been the state representative for House District 31 since 2018. She is aiming to be not only Colorado’s first 8th Congressional District representative but also Colorado’s first Latina member of the U.S. House of Representatives. She is the daughter of parents who came to Colorado from Mexico and is running in the most heavily Latino and Hispanic district in Colorado.
She and Barbara Kirkmeyer are squaring off in what has been the most closely watched race in Colorado this year — both in terms of how close the margins are expected to be among Coloradans, but also in terms of how much national money has been spent on the race as the two parties fight for control of the House.
Caraveo grew up in Adams County, and got her undergraduate degree from Regis University in Denver and her medical degree at the University of Colorado.
In her years in the state House, some of the bills she has sponsored and cosponsored cross over with her work as a pediatrician, in that many of them concern health, health care and children. Those include a measure capping and lowering the cost of prescription drugs, cutting down on pollution, implementing higher nicotine taxes and flavored tobacco bans, and a paid family leave law. She said earlier this year that having 65% of her patients on Medicaid helped push her into politics in the first place.
Caraveo says Congress should pass a law enshrining the right to an abortion under federal law and told The Denver Post “the future of abortion rights hinges on this election.” She voted in favor of the Reproductive Health Equity Act the legislature passed earlier this year, which enshrined abortion protections into state law.
Caraveo says Congress’ top priority should be making life more affordable for Americas and Coloradans and is supportive of most aspects of the Inflation Reduction Act concerning lower drug prices, investments in renewable energy, and lowering health care premiums.
From August 2021 through the end of September, Caraveo has raised about $2.6 million and spent a little less than $2.1 million. She ended September with $582,793 cash on hand.
Barbara Kirkmeyer (Republican)
Barbara Kirkmeyer is the Republican state senator from Brighton representing District 23, a seat she was elected to in 2020. She also previously served as a Weld County commissioner and ran in the 2014 primary for Colorado’s 4th Congressional District, garnering 16% of the vote and finishing third out of four candidates. Rep. Ken Buck won that primary and the midterm election. Kirkmeyer is a graduate of the University of Colorado and former dairy farmer prior to her time in politics.
Polling in the race between her and Caraveo has been neck-and-neck over the past several months and the race is expected to be among the closest – and most expensive – in Colorado this year.
As a senator, Kirkmeyer serves on the Senate Education, Health and Human Services, and Local Government committees. She was the prime sponsor, along with Democrats at times, of several bills signed by the governor, including one further funding special education services, another regarding programs for youth in out-of-home placements who have disabilities, and others concerning education, oil and gas property taxes, and government organization.
She says she wants to reduce inflation and deficits, even though deficits have gone up under Republican presidents and Congresses compared to under Democrats in recent years.
She says she is willing to support federal legislation supporting abortions up to 15 weeks and says she supports the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal dollars being used to support abortions except when the life of the mother is at stake. But she also removed language from her website in which she said she would “defend the sanctity of life” and removed a video of her speaking at an anti-abortion rally.
She previously defended her work when she was a county commissioner to have Weld County and 10 others secede from Colorado and form a new state.
She said she thinks Republicans and Democrats can work together on immigration reform and drug trafficking, and says she both wants to secure the border and make a plan to allow DACA recipients a path to citizenship.
She says she does not think the 2020 election was stolen.
Kirkmeyer has raised about $1.1 million since July 2021 and spent $832,000. As of Oct. 19, she had about $312,000 cash on hand.
Richard Ward — Libertarian Party
Tim Long — Colorado Center Party (Write-In)
Secretary of State
Jena Griswold (Democrat, incumbent)
In the four years since Jena Griswold was elected, defeating incumbent Republican Wayne Williams in 2018, she has become among the most outspoken election officials in the country — pushing back on former President Trump’s false claims about mail voting and the results of the 2020 election that have permeated facets of the Republican party. She ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.
She and her office have not only talked about election integrity and safeguarding the process. The office has investigated election tampering involving Tina Peters, who lost in the Republican Secretary of State primary, and the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, which led to criminal indictments. And she has barred Peters and Elbert County Clerk and Recorder Dallas Schroeder — both Republicans — from overseeing elections in their counties, as well as Democratic Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz for mistakes on the county’s ballot during both the primary and midterm elections.
She did an ad with Williams in an attempt to show that election security and integrity was a bipartisan issue but ended up pulling it over complaints about using taxpayer money for what opponents called a political ad.
She has been criticized by Republicans and accused of politicizing the office because of some of the investigations into election breaches and her outspokenness about Trump’s messaging and the false claims the 2020 election were stolen, along with a mailer that went to undocumented immigrants talking about voting, but which also noted only citizens could vote.
Griswold has also faced numerous criminal threats, including one that led to an 18-month prison sentence for a Nebraska man in one of the first federal prosecutions for a new task force aimed at protecting election workers in the face of threats.
Griswold has added more ballot dropboxes and pushed the legislature to pass a law to prevent voter intimidation at dropboxes and polling places across the state and to strengthen protections against people getting unauthorized access to voting equipment. She has also touted Colorado’s election system as “the gold standard” while other states moved to mail and absentee ballots during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to encourage the process. And her office is working to update the outdated TRACER campaign finance portal the state uses to track political spending.
As of mid-October, Griswold had raised $4.1 million, spent $3.8 million and had $294,000 cash on hand.
Pam Anderson (Republican)
Pam Anderson is a former Jefferson County Clerk and former executive director of the bipartisan Colorado County Clerks Association.
She handily won the Republican primary in June over Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters, the election conspiracy theorist who is under indictment in connection to an election security breach last year, and Mike O’Donnell, garnering nearly 44% of the total vote in a primary that centered on whether to vote for a candidate entrenched in “The Big Lie” or one who does not believe there were improprieties in the 2020 election, as is the case with Anderson.
Democrats and some others have criticized her for claiming to want to take partisan politics out of the office and for calling Griswold overly partisan as she campaigns alongside other Colorado candidates who have toed the line on, or bought into, election denialism.
Anderson says her 20 years of election experience in Colorado make her among the most knowledgeable in the state’s systems but that she sees additional areas she would like to build upon, including more voter list and signature verification audits, and working in what she calls a nonpartisan fashion to ensure county clerks and residents trust the election process.
As of mid-October, Anderson had raised $265,000, plus a $40,000 loan, and spent $272,000. She had $32,000 cash on hand as of Oct. 12.
Gary Swing — Unity Party of Colorado
Jan Kok — Approval Voting Party
Amanda Campbell — American Constitution Party
Bennett Rutledge — Libertarian Party
Phil Weiser (Democrat, incumbent)
In his four years as attorney general, Phil Weiser has overseen the wide range of duties of the office, from Supreme Court cases regarding discrimination laws, to a host of consumer protection issues and lawsuits, to investigations into the Aurora Police Department, work on water and air quality policy and lawsuits, securing opioid settlement money that will go toward drug prevention and treatment programs, defending the DACA program, and appointing statewide grand juries to investigate high-profile cases like the death of Elijah McClain.
He clerked for late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, worked for the Department of Justice under President Obama and at the University of Colorado law school before he beat Republican George Brauchler in the 2018 election by 6 percentage points. Weiser faces Brauchler’s successor in the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office this year, in DA John Kellner.
Weiser and his office also oversaw an investigation into sexual abuse within Colorado’s Catholic Church, created a task force to try to crack down on rampant unemployment fraud during the pandemic, supported the extreme risk protection law, criminal justice reform bill Senate Bill 217, and Reproductive Health Equity Act, and challenged the Trump administration’s moves to roll back clean air and water protections, as well as Texas’s ultra-restrictive abortion law.
He acknowledges the rise in crime during the pandemic and says he wants to fight the fentanyl scourge and sharp increase in vehicle thefts if he is re-elected, while continuing work on the programs coming out of the opioid settlement money and other consumer protection and environmental issues.
As of mid-October, Weiser had raised $4.4 million and spent $3.7 million. He had $791,000 cash on hand as of Oct. 12.
John Kellner (Republican)
John Kellner is currently the district attorney in the 18th Judicial District County, the most populous judicial district in the state which covers Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties.
Kellner declared candidacy for attorney general in January after about a year on the job as district attorney. He defeated Democrat Amy Padden for the prosecutor’s seat in 2020 by just more than 1,400 votes. He had let the district attorney’s office’s cold case unit before that under Brauchler.
After finishing his undergraduate degree at the University of Florida, Kellner served in the Marine Corps and went to law school at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He remains a member of the Marine Corps Reserves and worked in the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office upon finishing law school.
Kellner says though the job is wide-ranging, he believes his top priority if he elected is trying to reduce Colorado’s rising crime rates as the state’s top law enforcement officer.
Kellner has been an outspoken critic of Weiser and the Polis administration, blaming them for the rise in violent crime, vehicle thefts and fentanyl in Colorado during the pandemic — though those trends are also seen nationwide. He has also criticized the sweeping criminal justice reform law (SB21-217) passed in 2021.
Along with trying to reduce crime, Kellner said he wants to continue work on stopping robocalls and other fraudsters, that he will uphold the office’s duty to defend Colorado law — specifically around abortion access, saying he supported the Supreme Court putting abortion rights in the state’s hands — try to cut down on vehicle thefts, and use the statewide grand jury to investigate fentanyl rings.
As of mid-October, Kellner has raised about $314,000 and spent $186,000. He had $146,000 cash on hand as of Oct. 12.
William F. Robinson III — Libertarian Party
Stanley Thorne — Unaffiliated (Write-In)
Dave Young (Democrat, incumbent)
Dave Young was elected Colorado’s treasurer in 2018 after serving as a state representative in District 50 from 2011 to 2019 and on the Joint Budget Committee.
As treasurer, Young is responsible for overseeing the state’s investments and is a board member of PERA, the public pension plan. He also advises on state financial issues and implements programs passed by the legislature.
He lauds his implementation of the Colorado SecureSavings program and a small business program and pledges to continue being sure Colorado can continue to make its necessary payments to PERA each year, though he says he would like to look again at changes to it from 2018 to ensure the burden is shared equally among stakeholders, while protecting Colorado’s assets.
He said that the governor’s sending out of TABOR checks late this summer was part of an effort to fight inflation but has also floated potentially replacing TABOR with something else to try to put more money toward funding education and other programs and initiatives.
As of mid-October, Young has raised $601,000 and spent $548,000. As of Oct. 12, he had $63,000 cash on hand.
Lang Sias (Republican)
Lang Sias is a former state representative for District 27 from 2015 to 2019 and was Walker Stapleton’s running mate in the 2018 governor’s race, which they lost.
Sias also said he would be a strong and independent PERA board member if elected and would want to keep costs down for small businesses, rightfully assess cost-benefit analysis of legislation and spending, and save Colorado residents money.
He says he wants to ensure TABOR is not repealed so Coloradans vote on any potential tax increases and trim the size of the Treasury Department from its current rate.
Some Republicans are hedging the inflation rate and it being a top issue for voters this year as a reason why they believe Sias might win the office because Democrats are in currently in charge.
He had about double the cash on hand Young does as of Oct. 12, with $121,000 in the coffers. He has raised $178,000 and spent $52,000.
Anthony J. Delgado — Libertarian Party
Head to our politics section for more election coverage.