Here are the Colorado Legislature members making a bid for Congress

All 8 congressional districts — and one Senate seat — will be on this year’s ballot

By: - January 20, 2022 4:30 am
Julie McCluskie

State representatives clap during remarks made in the House chamber Jan. 12, 2022. (Carl Payne for Colorado Newsline)

All congressional seats in Colorado will be on the ballot for the 2022 election in November, including the one for the state’s new 8th Congressional District. Several members of the Colorado Legislature — which includes the state House of Representatives and Senate — have entered those races. 

Here’s what we know so far about who’s running.

U.S. House of Representatives 

Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District 

Republican state Sen. Don Coram, of Senate District 6, filed his statement of candidacy on Jan. 5, officially entering the primary race for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. Coram will face incumbent Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert, who is in her first term and officially announced her reelection on New Year’s Eve. Coram, of Montrose, represented House District 28 as a state representative from 2011 until 2017. While this is Coram’s final year of his first term as a state senator, he is unable to run for reelection due to redistricting, as he was drawn into the same district as state Sen. Bob Rankin, who will keep the seat because his term doesn’t end until 2025. The 3rd Congressional District includes most of Colorado’s Western Slope and the south-central part of the state, including Pueblo.

“I don’t see myself running against Boebert,” Coram told Newsline in December. “I see myself running for Colorado.”

Democratic state Rep. Donald Valdez, of House District 62, announced in February his intent to unseat Boebert. Boebert’s conspiracy theories and dangerous antics motivated Valdez, of La Jara,  to run for Boebert’s seat, he told Newsline last year. Valdez, who has represented the district since 2017, announced his candidacy to run against Boebert predecessor Rep. Scott Tipton in June 2019, but withdrew from the race in November 2019.

Colin Wilhelm, a Democrat, who ran for Colorado House District 57 in 2020, but lost in the general election, is also running for the 3rd Congressional District seat.

Democratic state Sen. Kerry Donovan, of Senate District 5, suspended her campaign for the 3rd Congressional District seat in November after Donovan was drawn out of the 3rd District in the new congressional districts. Members of Congress are required to live in the state they represent, but are not required to live in the district they represent. 

Former Republican President Donald Trump endorsed Boebert in December, calling her a “fearless leader, a defender of the America First Agenda, and a fighter against the Loser RINOs and Radical Democrats,” in a statement tweeted by Liz Harrington, Trump’s chief spokeswoman. Twitter permanently suspended Trump’s account due to the risk of further incitement of violence in January 2021, after armed Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. RINO, a pejorative, means “Republican in name only.”

Colorado’s 5th Congressional District 

Republican state Rep. Dave Williams, of House District 15, announced in December his candidacy for Colorado’s 5th Congressional District. In the primary, Williams will face incumbent Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, who has represented the district, which centers on Colorado Springs, since 2007. Williams was the prime sponsor of failed legislation that would have prohibited abortion after 22 weeks. In 2016, Williams was the first Latino elected to the district.

“For the good of our community and to advance our conservative values against Biden and Pelosi, it’s not just a political necessity to fire Doug Lamborn, it’s a moral necessity as well,” Williams said in a December statement. “While Doug Lamborn may not be ashamed of himself for violating ethics laws or hiding his true RINO voting record, the rest of us are.”

The House Ethics Committee is investigating allegations that Lamborn allowed his son to live in the U.S. Capitol basement and had his staff perform personal tasks for him and his wife. 

Colorado’s 7th Congressional District

Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter announced last week that he will not seek reelection for Colorado’s 7th Congressional District, which he has represented since 2006. “There comes a time when you pass the torch to the next generation of leaders,” Perlmutter tweeted

A day after Perlmutter’s announcement, Democratic state Sen. Brittany Pettersen, of Senate District 22, joined the race. Petterson previously represented House District 28 as a state representative. 

The 7th Congressional District includes Thorton, Westminster, Lakewood and Golden. Laurel Imer, who won the 2020 Republican primary for Colorado House District 24 but lost the general election, is also running for the seat. 

The Denver Post reported last week that state Rep. Colin Larson, of House District 22, will make an announcement in a week or so regarding whether he will run for the seat. 

“I’ve dedicated the past 3 years of my life to public service and I want to make sure that any decision I make regarding a run for Congress is the right thing for my constituents and my family,” Larson wrote in response to an email from Newsline asking if he is running for Congress. “I can confirm that I am actively considering a run but I do not have a final decision at this time.”

Colorado’s 8th Congressional District

Colorado is among six states that gained representation in Congress after the 2020 Census. 

Democratic state Rep. Yadira Caraveo, of House District 31, announced her candidacy for the 8th Congressional District in August. Caraveo, of Thorton, is a pediatrician and has represented the state district since 2019. Caraveo is a member of the Colorado Democratic Latino Caucus and would be the first Latina in Congress from Colorado

Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, of Senate District 23, announced her candidacy for the new congressional district seat in November. Kirkmeyer ran for Colorado’s 4th Congressional District in 2014, but was defeated in the primary by Rep. Ken Buck, the current representative of the 4th Congressional District. Kirkmeyer previously served as the Weld County Commissioner.

The Colorado Times Recorder reported in October that there were rumors that Republican state Sen. Kevin Priola, of Senate District 25, might run for the congressional seat. 

Former Republican state Rep. Lori Saine, of Senate District 63, is also running for Colorado’s 8th Congressional District seat

U.S. Senate

Republican state Rep. Ron Hanks, of House District 60, is running against incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who is running for his third full term since he was appointed to the seat in 2009. Hanks, of Canon City, has repeated unsubstantiated claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election, as well as claiming that Republicans have lost elections as far back as the 1990s due to fraud. Hanks is suing Jena Griswold, Colorado’s secretary of state, in an attempt to have a third-party audit of the 2020 election in Colorado. In December, Griswold asked the judge to throw out the lawsuit

Hanks was present at the Jan. 6, 2021, rally that turned into an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol

Sen. John Hickenlooper defeated former Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020 and is up for reelection in 2026. 

The primary will be held on June 28 and the general election on Nov 8.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 2:11 p.m., Jan. 20, 2022, to clarify the geographical description of the 5th Congressional District.


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