State Lawmakers to Square Off in New Colorado Congressional District

By John Haughey
John Haughey
John Haughey
John Haughey has been a working journalist since 1978 with an extensive background in local government, state legislatures, and growth and development. A graduate of the University of Wyoming, he is a Navy veteran who fought fires at sea during three deployments aboard USS Constellation. He’s been a reporter for daily newspapers in California, Washington, Wyoming, New York, and Florida; a staff writer for Manhattan-based business trade publications.
June 27, 2022 Updated: June 28, 2022

Voters in Colorado’s new congressional district will see familiar names on their November ballot, with two state lawmakers set to square off after winning their June 28 primaries.

Republican State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer edged three rivals in the Republican primary for the state’s newly created Congressional District 8 (CD 8) to advance to the general election.

Kirkmeyer will face state Democrat Rep. Yadira Caraveo in November, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

A Weld County Commissioner for 20 years before being elected to the state senate in 2021, Kirkmeyer’s well-established ground game proved to be the difference in emerging victorious from a crowded field in the most competitive campaign of Colorado’s primaries.

Tyler Allcorn of Westminster, a U.S. Army Green Beret veteran of combat in Syria who works in the oil industry, ran a spirited campaign as a first-time candidate but fell short of winning the nomination.

Thornton mayor Jan Kulmann, an engineer who has worked in the oil industry for years, and Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine, finished third and fourth.

All four CD 8 Republican primary candidates touted similar conservative “America First” agendas that addressed border security, election integrity, gun-owners’ rights, school choice, parents’ rights, restricting abortion, support for law enforcement, and the reversal of Democratic energy policies.

Energy development and regulation are particularly relevant issues because many of northeast Colorado’s oil and gas workers live in CD 8, one of seven new U.S. House districts created nationwide following post-2020 Census redistricting.

CD 8, the first new district established in Colorado since the 2000 Census, reflects population growth east of Interstate-25 north of Denver, spanning parts of Adams, Larimer, and Weld counties. The district incorporates most of the state’s oil and gas extraction industry.

According to the Colorado Secretary of State Office, as of May 1, there were 115,404 registered Democrats, 102,922 registered Republicans, and 190,925 registered voters who are unaffiliated with any party in CD 8.

That cadre of unaffiliated voters will determine who wins in November, not only in CD 8 but in local, state, and congressional elections across Colorado, where 46 percent of the state’s 3.73 million voters are registered as unaffiliated with a party.

Independent voters can also essentially chart what candidates win primaries since Colorado law allows them to cast ballots in one primary of their choice.

Despite a 3 percent advantage in active registered voters, the number of independent voters makers CD 8 “competitive,” according to FiveThirtyEight. The Cook Partisan Voting Index rates CD 7 also as “competitive,” with November’s election a “toss-up.”

Kirkmeyer’s campaign did not raise as much money as those of Kulmann and Allcorn, but she told The Epoch Times last week that her ground game was solid and would be the difference in the June 28 primary.

“I have an all-volunteer staff, did not pay anyone, and we’ve knocked on 5,000 doors,” she said, noting what resonated with voters is her background as a fourth-generation Coloradan raised on a dairy farm, a small business owner, and mother who will advocate for parents in addressing what she calls a “failed” public school system.

“I have a proven record,” Kirkmeyer said. “I have fought for my community. I have fought for my state and want to fight for my country, gosh darn it.”

She will face a formidable challenge in November against Caraveo, a pediatrician whose parents immigrated to Colorado from Mexico.

According to the 2020 Census, more than 38 percent of the district’s residents identify as Hispanic, with the vast majority of Mexican descent.

Elected to the state House in 2018, during her two terms, Caraveo has gained bipartisan note for, among other initiatives, her role in crafting and adopting the 2021 bill that created the Colorado Prescription Drug Affordability Review Board to conduct affordability reviews of medications.

According to her campaign’s June 8 filing with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), Caraveo had raised $838,805 and had $427,814 in cash on hand. Despite running unopposed in the primary, the Democrat had already spent $427,814 preparing for the general election.

John Haughey
John Haughey has been a working journalist since 1978 with an extensive background in local government, state legislatures, and growth and development. A graduate of the University of Wyoming, he is a Navy veteran who fought fires at sea during three deployments aboard USS Constellation. He’s been a reporter for daily newspapers in California, Washington, Wyoming, New York, and Florida; a staff writer for Manhattan-based business trade publications.