State Rep. Richard Holtorf, a Republican from Akron, attends the GOP state assembly in Colorado Springs on April 9, 2022. (Chase Woodruff/Colorado Newsline)
State Rep. Richard Holtorf of Akron on Thursday became the first Republican officeholder to enter what is expected to be a highly competitive primary race in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District.
The seat is currently held by U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a Windsor Republican who announced last week that he will not seek reelection to a sixth term in Congress, citing his party’s “lying” about the results of the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Holtorf, a hardline conservative who had already floated a primary challenge against Buck, used the launch of his campaign to slam members of Congress whom he called “doormats who don’t stand up for real conservative values.”
“Ken Buck let us down when he failed to push for the Trump agenda,” Holtorf said in a press release. “I’m tired of what I see in Congress and it’s time for a Colorado Cowboy to go up there and fight the out-of-touch bureaucrats.”
GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX
The 4th District includes most of Colorado’s rural Eastern Plains, along with the suburbs of Douglas County and parts of Weld and Larimer counties. Republicans are heavily favored in the district, with Buck winning reelection last year with 61% of the vote.
Holtorf, a rancher and former Army aviation officer who served two tours in Afghanistan, was first appointed to the state House of Representatives by a Republican vacancy committee in 2019. He was elected to a full term representing House District 64 the next year, and then ran successfully for the House District 63 seat following the 2020 redistricting process.
Buck was first elected in the 4th District in 2014, replacing then-Rep. Cory Gardner, who won election to the U.S. Senate the same year. In a video message announcing his retirement, Buck said that “too many Republican leaders are lying to America,” repeating a criticism he had made of several GOP candidates for House speaker in a protracted intra-party power struggle last month.
After Buck publicly criticized efforts by House Republicans to pursue an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden, Holtorf denounced him as “the Liz Cheney of Colorado” and said he had formed an exploratory committee for a primary challenge.
Holtorf was one of several state lawmakers to speak alongside election conspiracist Mike Lindell at a rally last year on the steps of the Colorado Capitol. In January 2022, he joined 18 of his GOP colleagues to support a resolution by former state Rep. Ron Hanks casting doubt on the results of the 2020 election and spreading baseless conspiracy theories about Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems. Claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election have been repeatedly debunked by elections officials, experts, media investigations, law enforcement and the courts.
Conservative radio host Deborah Flora, who sought the 2022 Republican Senate nomination but failed to qualify for the ballot, has also announced her candidacy for the 4th District seat. Trent Leisy and Justin Schreiber are competing in the Republican primary as well.
SUPPORT NEWS YOU TRUST.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.