Friday, August 12, 2022 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Colorado primaries see high turnout, a win for brash Boebert over moderate GOP challenger

At least a quarter of Colorado’s registered eligible voters cast ballots in the 2022 primary.

DENVER (CN) — Brash, gun-totting Congresswoman Lauren Boebert clocked a 29-point lead on her opponent, state Senator Don Coram, in the Republican primary for Colorado’s 3rd District.

At least half of Colorado's registered Republicans voted, as of 3:30 pm, in a primary election that will decide the party’s fate come November in the purple-turned-blue state.

The state’s afternoon tally of 972,188 ballots, includes 481,058 Republicans, 404,967 Democrats and 86,163 unaffiliated voters, representing roughly a quarter of eligible active voters. Only 1% of voters voted in person, while 99% of ballots were mailed or dropped off in signed, sealed envelopes.

Colorado runs a semi-open primary, allowing independent and unaffiliated voters to participate in one party’s primary.

Roughly two-thirds of unaffiliated voters participated in the Democratic Party primary, while a third voted Republican —debunking the myth that Democrats have been changing their party affiliation en masse to sabotage the Republican ticket.

Colorado’s 3rd District stretches 27 counties from the state’s northwestern and southwestern corners east into the central Rocky Mountains.

Coram, an established moderate, raised $228,985 to Boebert's $4.5 million war chest.

Boebert won her first political campaign against former Congressman Scott Tipton in the 2020 Republican primary on a vocal MAGA campaign. A staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, she owns a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, where servers wear loaded pistols as part of their uniform.

“I’m thrilled the voters showed their confidence in me to continue being their representative,” Boebert said in a statement. “Conservative Republicans like me are going to help take back the house in November, fire Nancy Pelosi, and do all we can to get our country back on track.”

Her win would be equally unsurprising and infuriating to her critics, of which there are many, including the American Muckrackers PAC which launched a campaign to Fire Boebert in June. The group released photos and text messages alleging Boebert had misappropriated campaign funds, worked as an escort and underwent two abortions, despite lobbying against the medical procedure.

In the 2020 general election, Boebert defeated Democratic candidate Diane Bush with 51% of the vote. That narrow 1% lead gives Democrats hope of breaking into a district which has consistently supported Republican presidential and gubernatorial candidates since 2000.

Entrepreneur and former-Aspen City council member, Adam Frisch reported the largest campaign budget, with a largely self-funded $1 million. Community activist Sol Sandoval raised $898,000 and mechanical engineer Alex Walker raised $249,000.

Frisch campaigned across the district on a “Beat Boebert Brewery Tour,” explaining why he thought himself as the only Democrat who could win in November.

Frisch tracked a 4-point lead on Sandoval who trailed 1,700 votes behind.

“I am humbled the voters selected me to defeat Boebert,” Frisch said in a statement. “Over 55% of voters selected someone other than Boebert in the primary. I’ll build that same coalition to beat Boebert in November.”

Early results put Frisch in the lead, with Sandoval trailing just 1,300 votes behind.

Colorado’s newly drawn 8th Congressional District spans from Denver commuter suburbs Thornton and Brighton up to rural Greeley where the economy centers around oil and gas. Of recent active voters in the region, 28% were Democrat, 25% Republican and 44% unaffiliated.

With three northern counties reporting results, State Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer took lead of the Republican Party with 40% of ballots cast so far.

State Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer took lead of the Republican Party with 40% of ballots counted.

“Nancy Pelosi and her super PAC allies tried to meddle in this race, but my Republican primary voters didn’t fall for it,” Kirkmeyer told Courthouse News over the phone. “We’ve got to beat back this inflation, we’ve got to cut our spending and cut the deficit spending, get rid of the debt, we’ve got to become energy independent and work to get those oil and gas worker jobs back.”

ADVERTISEMENT

A fourth generation Coloradan, Kirkmeyer grew up on a dairy farm and touts her pro-oil and gas legislation. She raised $333,507.

While holding down a job as an oil and gas engineer, Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann raised $469,571, the most out of the competitive field.

Former-Green Beret Tyler Allcorn raised $341,975, while Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine brought in a $216,014 campaign budget.

“My issues tend to run toward pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-Constitutional law applied equally to everyone,” said Joseph Adams, a Thornton Republican living in the 8th District.

“I don't agree with the Democrats’ platform on abortion, taxes. The general direction that we’ve been headed in the last year and a half is not appealing to me in any way, shape or form,” Adams said. “Looking at rising costs for inflation and energy costs, decisions that have been made to stop drilling or pipelines, things that could lead to energy independence versus making us dependent on other nations that now have control over us as a nation.”

State representative and pediatrician Yadira Caraveo was the only Democratic candidate to meet ballot requirements and therefore ran unopposed. She raised $838,805, about half of which is on hand for the general election.

“Our fundamental American rights are under attack, while costs are out of control,” Caraveo said in a statement. “This November, with the support of working families from Commerce City up to Greeley and back again, we will make sure the voices of Colorado’s 8th District are heard loudly in the halls of Washington.”

Caraveo received 27,821 votes, as of 9:45 p.m., while 40,999 had been distributed among Republican candidates.

“If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice,” said Don C., a Thornton Democrat, who asked that his last name not be used. “When it comes to November, I don’t want the radical left or the radical right. I wouldn’t vote for anybody who wants to continue to build the stupid wall.”

Don said he often splits his ticket in the general elections and hasn’t yet decided who he will support to represent the new congressional district, but he won’t vote for a Trump-backed candidate.

“Anybody that Trump backs, you should step away from them, because they don't have our democracy in their hearts,” Don said.

Results from across the state revealed Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters falling well behind opponent Pam Anderson — even in Peters’ own county, where Anderson earned a 6 point lead with 1,765 more votes than Peters.

Peters notably announced her bid for office while under investigation by Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, for interfering with voting machine updates last year. Running largely on unsubstantiated claims of election interference, Peters raised $196,572.

Anderson, who received 43% of the vote, was first elected city clerk for Wheat Ridge in 2003, then served eight years as the Republican clerk and recorder for Jefferson County. She emphasized her experience on the campaign trail, and promised to increase election transparency while debunking claims that the 2020 election was stolen. Her campaign raised $111,262 in donations.

As of 9:45 p.m., incumbent Jena Griswold had received 391,920 votes, compared to the 491,381 distributed among the Republican candidates. Running unopposed, Griswold has $2.5 million on hand for the general election.

While all of these elections have been called by the candidates and victory speeches have been made, the state continues to count ballots and has not yet certified the results.

With a patchwork of counties reporting partial results, these numbers remain subject to change.

“It’s important to remember that election night results are never final results in Colorado," Griswold said in a statement distributed by her office. "After election day, military and oversees voters return their ballots, signature discrepancies can be fixed, and bipartisan audits are conducted to determine statistical confidence in the results. While county clerks begin to process ballots prior to election day, which allows for a high percentage of results to be reported on election night, there is quite a bit of activity that occurs after election day.”

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Loading
Loading...