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Calvarese, Padora win 4th District ballot spots in Colorado Democratic assembly


Calvarese, Padora win 4th District ballot spots in Colorado Democratic assembly

Apr 11, 2024 | 10:49 pm ET
By Lindsey Toomer
Calvarese, Padora win 4th District ballot spots in Colorado Democratic assembly
The U.S. Capitol. (Jennifer Shutt/States Newsroom)

Colorado Democrats held congressional assemblies Thursday to determine which candidates will be on the June 25 primary ballot for seven of the state’s eight districts. 

All districts that have a Democratic incumbent supported their current representatives in Congress in their bids for reelection. 

In the 4th Congressional District, which includes most of Douglas County and the Eastern Plains, three Democrats sought spots on the primary ballot through the assembly process: Karen Breslin, Trisha Calvarese, and John Padora. Preliminary results showed that Calvarese qualified for the ballot with 57.8% of delegate support and Padora qualified with 33.9% of delegate support, while Breslin fell short with 8.3% of delegate support.

Democrat Ike McCorkle qualified for the 4th District primary ballot through petition signatures.

The 4th District is currently without a representative. Calvarese will face Republican Greg Lopez in a special election that will take place on the same day as the primary. The person who wins will represent the 4th District in Congress through the end of the year after former U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a Windsor Republican, resigned. Calvarese’s eligibility to run is being challenged in a lawsuit.

The 4th District is the most Republican-leaning district in the state. Republicans have a crowded primary, with several candidates making it onto the ballot through petition signatures. Republican U.S. Rep. Boebert, who represents the 3rd District but is now running in the 4th, won the Republican delegate vote Saturday. 

In Colorado’s 1st Congressional District, which is entirely based in Denver, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette won support from 94% of delegates in her district, according to preliminary results. 

Unlike in other districts with a Democratic incumbent, DeGette had a challenger: Chris Ridener. He only got support from 4% of delegates and therefore did not qualify for the primary ballot, as 30% is required. 

The 1st District favors Democrats. DeGette was first elected to the seat in 1992.

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse of Lafayette, who recently took on the role of assistant minority leader, won unanimous support from delegates in the 2nd Congressional District, according to Karin Asensio, executive director of the Colorado Democratic Party.

The 2nd District is anchored in Boulder and stretches west along the Interstate 70 corridor and north to include Fort Collins and favors Democrats. Neguse was first elected to represent the district in 2018. 

Former Aspen City Council member Adam Frisch won unanimous support from Democratic delegates in the 3rd Congressional District, which encompasses the Western Slope and the southwest corner of the state, sweeping east to include Pueblo, Otero and Las Animas counties, according to Asensio. 

The 3rd District historically favors Republicans, but Frisch lost to Boebert by just 546 votes in 2022.  

Asensio said incumbent U.S. Rep. Jason Crow won unanimous support from delegates in the 6th Congressional District, which is anchored in Aurora and includes most of Arapahoe County and parts of Adams, Jefferson and Douglas counties. Crow was first elected in 2018, defeating then-incumbent Republican Mike Coffman, who is now mayor of Aurora. 

In the 7th Congressional District, which includes Denver’s western suburbs and extends into Jefferson, Park, Lake, Chaffee, Teller, Fremont and Custer counties, delegates unanimously supported U.S. Rep. Brittany Pettersen, according to Asensio. Pettersen is finishing up her first term in Congress. 

The 8th Congressional District is the most competitive district in the state, favoring Democrats by just over 1 percentage point. Democratic delegates backed incumbent U.S. Rep. Yadira Caraveo, according to Asensio. The district includes the northern Denver suburbs and extends into Greeley. Caraveo is also finishing up her first term in Congress.

Democrats in the 5th Congressional District on Saturday chose two candidates who will appear on the ballot at their district’s congressional assembly. Two Republican candidates for the district have so far secured a spot on the primary ballot.

Candidates trying to access the June 25 primary ballot have two options. They can win the support of at least 30% of the votes cast through their party’s assembly or collect enough valid signatures to petition for their names to appear on the ballot. They may also do both — collect petition signatures and campaign for delegate votes.