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Gov. Polis takes sides in key Colorado statehouse Democratic primary

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Gov. Polis takes sides in key Colorado statehouse Democratic primary

Jun 13, 2024 | 6:00 am ET
By Sara Wilson
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Gov. Polis takes sides in key Colorado statehouse Democratic primary
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis speaks during a news conference about a bipartisan property tax reduction bill on May 6, 2024, at the Colorado Capitol. (Quentin Young/Colorado Newsline)

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is backing a state House of Representatives candidate looking to unseat one of the most progressive members of the Legislature.

Attorney Sean Camacho earned Polis’ endorsement, his campaign announced Wednesday. Camacho is running in the Democratic primary in Denver’s House District 6, against incumbent Rep. Elisabeth Epps.

“I trust Sean Camacho to fight hard in the Legislature for solutions that address our state’s biggest challenges,” Polis, a Democrat, said in a statement the campaign emailed to supporters. “Through his community leadership and service to our country, he has the skills and experience to find solutions and be a strong representative for the people of HD6.”

Polis endorses sparingly in state-level races. This year, he is supporting Rep. Judy Amabile in her bid for Senate District 18, Rep. Junie Joseph’s reelection bid in House District 10, Rep. Lindsey Daugherty in Senate District 19 and Michael Carter in the open House District 36. He has not endorsed in other highly competitive races, such as in House District 4 and House District 30.

Whoever wins the primary in House District 6 will almost certainly go on to win the general election. The district, which spans parts of Capitol Hill, Congress Park and into Lowry, leans nearly 67 points in Democrats’ favor, according to an analysis from the recent redistricting process.

It will be one of the most closely watched races this primary, as Epps, who was elected to the seat in 2022, works to retain her seat following an at-times controversial first term. Ahead of this year’s session, she was removed from the House Judiciary Committee and reprimanded by House leadership for “disrespectful behaviors” on the last day of a special legislative session in November 2023. She brought forward some of the most progressive bills in the chamber this year, including a bill to ban semi-automatic weapons and a bill to let cities allow overdose prevention centers, both of which passed the House but died in the Senate.

Camacho has endorsements from the core of the state Democratic establishment, including Attorney General Phil Weiser, House Speaker Julie McCluskie, House Majority Leader Monica Duran and Senate President Steve Fenberg. He is also endorsed by organizations including the Colorado Association of Realtors, Colorado Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Professional Firefighters.

Epps, meanwhile, is backed by more labor and grassroots organizations, such as the Colorado AFL-CIO, Colorado WINS, SEIU Colorado, Moms Demand Action and the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Action Fund.

Camacho has both outraised and outspent Epps by significant margins in the race.

Colorado’s primary election is June 25.