Democrat Caraveo upsets GOP’s Kirkmeyer to win new 8th Congressional District seat in Colorado

By: - November 9, 2022 6:52 pm
Yadira Caraveo

Democratic state Rep. Yadira Caraveo will be the new U.S. representative from Colorado’s 8th Congressional District. (Courtesy of Yadira Caraveo campaign)

Democratic state Rep. Yadira Caraveo, a pediatrician from Thornton, will be the U.S. representative from Colorado’s newly created 8th Congressional District.

Caraveo’s Republican opponent, state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer of Weld County, called Caraveo to concede the race on Wednesday evening.

“While this is not the outcome we hoped for, I am proud of our team and our campaign,” Kirkmeyer wrote in a Twitter post.


As of 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Caraveo held a narrow lead of less than 1 percentage point, with more than 200,000 votes tallied, according to unofficial results.

The new 8th District was created as a result of the 2020 census, which awarded Colorado an additional House seat as a result of population growth in a process known as reapportionment. The district includes parts of north metro Denver and extends north to Greeley and other parts of southern Weld County.

Caraveo, who has championed public health and environmental legislation during her time in the state Legislature, was on track to win the race with a strong performance in Adams County, the district’s largest population center, with support from 56% of voters to Kirkmeyer’s 41%. Among voters in Weld County, Kirkmeyer, a former county commissioner and veteran of northern Colorado politics, led 58% to 38%.

“With Yadira in the lead and significantly more votes left to be counted in Adams than in Weld, we are confident that once all of the votes have been counted, Yadira Caraveo will be the first congresswoman from (the 8th District),” Elana Schrager, Caraveo’s campaign manager, said in a statement Wednesday evening.

During the campaign, Caraveo and Kirkmeyer clashed over inflation, taxes, abortion rights and energy policy. Deep-red Weld County is home to over 90% of Colorado’s oil production, and Kirkmeyer hammered Caraveo over the impacts of Democrats’ clean-energy policies, repeatedly spreading a false claim about the impact of a 2019 law sponsored by Caraveo to strengthen health and safety regulations on the oil and gas industry. In the race’s final weeks, Kirkmeyer also aired a campaign ad centered on the lie that Colorado Democrats had “legalized fentanyl.”

With Caraveo’s win, a majority of Colorado’s eight congressional districts will be represented by Democrats when the 118th Congress is sworn in next January. As of Wednesday night, only the outcome of the 3rd District race between far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert and Democratic challenger Adam Frisch remained in doubt.

The new 8th District is the state’s most evenly split congressional district by party affiliation, and is home to the highest percentage of Latino voters.

Caraveo will be the first Latina to represent Colorado in Congress.

The district’s boundaries were drawn last year by Colorado’s inaugural Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission, established by an anti-gerrymandering reform approved by voters through a pair of 2018 constitutional amendments.

The 8th District race was by far Colorado’s most expensive congressional race in the 2022 election cycle, with the two candidates’ campaigns and affiliated super PACs spending a total of more than $20 million to influence voters.

Kirkmeyer and her allies maintained a significant funding advantage throughout the race, with deep-pocketed GOP super PACs including the Congressional Leadership Fund and Americans for Prosperity, the network founded by right-wing billionaire Charles Koch, combining to spend more than $10 million on Kirkmeyer’s behalf.

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Chase Woodruff
Chase Woodruff

Reporter Chase Woodruff covers the environment, the economy and other stories for Colorado Newsline.