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August 04, 2010 10:18 PM UTC

State Legislative Primaries to Watch

  • by: Colorado Pols

Lost in the hoopla surrounding the Primaries for U.S. Senate and Governor are a handful of interesting state legislative races that will be decided on Tuesday. After the jump, we break down the most interesting and relevant of those races.


State Senate District 6

This may be the fiercest Republican Primary on the legislative side, with Rep. Ellen Roberts and challenger Dean Boehler battling it out to take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Bruce Whitehead in this Montrose-area district. Roberts has raised almost twice as much money as Boehler, but the latter is a Tea Party favorite in a year where the more conservative candidates are doing better than their moderate GOP counterparts. This race probably comes down to turnout, with a higher turnout likely favoring the more well-known Roberts.

State Senate District 20

Democrats Cheri Jahn and Dave Ruchman are running to replace term-limited Sen. Moe Keller in what may be the tightest legislative race in the state on Tuesday. Ruchman narrowly lost (by a few dozen votes) a Primary bid to Rep. Sue Schafer in 2008, which was a race to replace Jahn in HD-24. Jahn is probably more well-known in the area than Ruchman, but she has some terrible votes for a Democrat that have been widely exploited in direct mail by third party groups. Jahn won top line out of the caucus by just two votes, but we think Ruchman will eke out a win with Primary voters.

State Senate District 34

Democrats Lucia Guzman and Rep. Joel Judd are battling it out for the North Denver seat vacated by the term-limited Paula Sandoval. Judd has more money and more campaign experience, but Guzman is better known in the more highly-populated parts of the district (the Denver Highlands area). Judd likely wins this race based on a more organized campaign, but high turnout could really boost Guzman.


State House District 4

Three Democrats — Dan Pabon, Jennifer Coken and Amber Tafoya are running to replace term-limited Rep. Jerry Frangas in this North Denver seat. Pabon easily won top line out of the caucus process, forcing both Coken and Tafoya to petition onto the ballot, and he’s been the top fundraiser of the bunch by far. For those reasons, it’s hard to see Pabon not winning this race.

State House District 5

Democrats Mark Thrun and Crisanta Duran are trying to win the downtown Denver seat vacated by term-limited Rep. Joel Judd. Both Thrun and Duran have their own bevy of backers and have done well raising money. This race is too close to call, and we really don’t have a feeling one way or the other from what we’ve heard.

State House District 7

Democrat Angela Williams has long been considered the favorite to replace term-limited Rep. Terrence Carroll, but Jon Goldin-Dubois and Mark Mehringer have still run tough campaigns. It still seems likely that Williams will ultimately win here, but it’s always tough to predict a three-way race when all the candidates are strong campaigners.

State House District 12

This is an interesting race to replace term-limited Rep. Paul Weissmann in the Louisville/Longmont area. Both Jake Williams and Matt Jones have raised more than $60,000, and each have a good background in Democratic politics. Jones was a former State Representative from the same general area in the late ’80s, but he’s coming off a 2007 Louisville City Council loss to a Republican (in a non-partisan election). Williams is relatively well-known in Democratic circles from work with labor and environmental groups, won top line at the assembly, and has more support from current elected officials. From what we hear, the younger Williams has run a strong campaign and should win this Primary.

State House District 44

Three Republicans are fighting it out for the Douglas County seat being vacated by term-limited Rep. Mike May. Polly Lawrence has outraised Chris Holbert by an almost 3-to-1 margin, while David Casiano has managed only about $4,000 total. Given the huge fundraising disparity, Lawrence would seem to have the edge.

State House District 54

Two Republicans are vying to replace Rep. Steve King, who is running for State Senate. Bob Hislop has significantly outraised Ray Scott, but Tea Party-types are trying hard to label Hislop as the dreaded RINO (Republican in Name Only). Hislop hasn’t raised enough money to offset grassroots RINO attacks, so this is a tough call, but Scott doesn’t seem to have done enough to get his own name out there. We’ll go with Hislop here.


40 thoughts on “State Legislative Primaries to Watch

  1. …with the Romanoff-esque mailer hit piece he sent out. I normally check them out before I dismiss them, but this had no links, no sources and it looked like it was made in MS Word.

    FAIL….I’ll go with Duran.

    1. Thrun has blown it for me as well.

      His campaign  over the past couple of weeks has consisted of lying and attack ads. He’s lost all respect in my book.

      Democrats should remember that these are primaries against folks who are working towards the same progressive objectives. And, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a tough race, but what i’ve seen come from Thrun’s campaign is beyond the point of no return.  

      1. also steal like 10,000 dollars from UFCW? Or steal a truck or something? I don’t remember exactly what it was but it was something along the lines of her Daddy got her into this job where she was overpayed, then she ended up with all of these gifts and no way to prove they were gained legally. I don’t live in district and have no other knowledge of this race other than Crisanta having something fishy going on with her job at UFCW. Does anyone have anymore info on that?

        1. Duran was part of a group of UFCW officers who lost in the most recent round of UFCW elections, and one of the issues in that election was concern that the compensation for the UFCW officers was unreasonably generous.

          There were also other controversies including a dispute over the legitimacy/accuracy of the officers vote by the group that was defeated, which didn’t look very plausible (I don’t know if that was ultimately resolved or not, I presume that a reversal of the election would have received media attention, but the NLRB is in a state of utter chaos after having a couple of years of rulings invalidated due to a lack of quorum so the case may just be stuck in the backlog).

          The officers election also involved concern over the handling of the very extended negotiations over contracts for unionized grocery store workers in which the rank and file rejected a contract proposal that was recommended by leadership, but was ultimately agreed to with minor modifications.

          Governor Ritter’s veto of pro-labor legislation that was relevant to the UFCW v. grocery stores labor talks is one of the important reasons that he lost support with much of the Democratic party rank and file and this lack of support was presumably one reason he chose not to run for re-election.

          Crisanta Duran is very polished without being flashy, very smart politically, and has a very well organized campaign.  She does not suffer from foot in mouth disease.  The district is a safe one, so electability isn’t really an issue — the winner will win in November no matter what smears are launched in the general election campaign.

          Still, there is plenty of concern about potentially unknown impropriety coming up in the future out there someday and hurting the Democratic party’s image generally.  The UFCW has not been the happiest family lately and there is plenty of ill will to go around.

          I don’t know Mark Thrun in any real way.

        2. It’s all labor politics folks. The opposition party within UFCW forced the labor department to look in to some allegations they put forth prior to the UFCW internal election. After auditing the previous administration, including Crisanta Duran, they found no wrong doing.

          That’s the facts of the matter. Thrun knows this is the case and now he’s banking on spreading lies and the OZ is perpetuating it.


            1. The Westword did a lengthy piece in December about the UFCW controversy that included interviews with the Durans (see link below). Whatever side you come down (or somewhere in between as I happen to be), HD-5 voters should know. If you were hiring someone for a job, would you want to know why he/she was fired from the previous one?


              Thanks to those who maintain civility in this thread.  

                  1. I’m not condoning false attack ads against Dems.

                    Are you willing to denounce that kind of campaigning. If not, then i’m disappointed your involved in the parties politics. We don’t need folks who are only in it to win no matter how they do it.  

                    1. You’re trying to make me sound like a bad person if I don’t denounce this ad right here, right now. The fact is, I don’t know the whole truth and I wager you don’t either. If you do, I would welcome your proof. Until then, I am not going to denounce or condone anything.

                      Here’s what I do know: There have been some sketchy things going down in this race and it’s the type of politics that I hate and the type of politics that makes people think all politicians are corrupt. And no, I’m not talking about Mark.

                      But, listen, I’m not here to trash anyone. If you know me, which it sounds like you do, then you know where I stand. If you know me well, then you know why I stand there. You also know that I pride myself on my honesty, integrity and thoughtfulness.

    2. I found out that Debbie Wamsley, who heads up Leadership For Caring Communities 527 has been working on behalf of Thrun and has been doing attacks on Duran and Bennet.

    3. Thrun’s mailer includes the sources (Westword, 7News) and links on the back of the piece. Voters should read those and make their own judgments.  

          1. You’re probably the scum bag who put it together.

            I’ll tell you this much, based on the campaign Thrun has conducted there are going to be a lot of upset Dems either way. Hope he didn’t have plans to become a career politician because i’ll do whatever I can to take him down.  

              1. Before you express your opinion on my opinion.

                I’m all for aggressive campaigning but these flyers are over the top and based on Nuggets posts it sounds like he’s the guy doing it.  

    1. this is dead wrong.  Cheri has much higher name recognition, her former HD is the majority of the SD, and people I have talked to are pretty upset with the attack ads and have attributed them to Ruchman going negative in a big way.  I think it will be relatively close but Jahn will win.

  2. How can you say Jake Williams has more support from current elected officials?  No way.  Matt Jones has the endorsement from 2/3 Boulder county commissioners (the other didn’t take a position), the incumbant Paul Weissmann, Stan Garnett, and even Senator Udall to name a few.

      1. both as a state rep before and his work on Louisville’s open space advisory board.  I just like what I saw and voted for Jones. My two cents.

      1. It’s hard to believe a state rep outside of HD-12 will matter much to the voters in HD-12.  But since Jones has the endorsement of the biggest names in HD-12 and Boulder county-wide electeds, Williams had to get them from somewhere.

        1. Matt claims his past experience as a state legislator is what we need right now, but today’s Democratic legislators clearly don’t agree.В Jones was in the legislature in the 80s and 90s and has plenty of friends from that era. I think that’s great. I also happen to think it’s time to move on.В  The most important endorsement is from the voters, and so far Jake has won that endorsement by taking top line at the Assembly.

  3. Sean Bradley is working hard to get the vacancy committee appointment in HD 42 to replace Karen Middleton on the ballot. He is intelligent, hard working and well versed on the issues. He deserves the selection.

  4. Next year’s council races will be wide open.

    If Hick wins at least three Council members will run for Mayor.  Some of the losing Legislative  candidates will look to revive their careers by running for the City Council.

    Tom Russell is being talked about by many neighborhood leaders as a candidate to succeed Marcia Johnson.

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