Jan Kulmann Grabs CD-8’s Third Rail

So far the message from Republican Mayor of Thornton Jan Kulmann, running in the red-hot Republican CD-8 primary, has been long on “glittering generalities” and short on policy details other than the “drill baby drill” refrain Kulmann picked up working in the oil and gas industry. But yesterday, Kulmann finally took a stand on an issue that Republican primary voters are always keen to grouse about, immigration policy:

Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann (R).

It’s nothing you wouldn’t expect in a Republican primary, but as Colorado Public Radio notes about the new ultra-competitive CD-8, there’s a risk in doing so:

Politically, it’s the state’s most evenly divided district. Unaffiliated voters make up 44 percent of active registered voters, while Democrats make up 28 percent and Republicans 25 percent. Averaging the outcome of eight recent races shows how narrow the divide truly is, with Democrats coming out with a negligible 1.3 percent advantage.

The district also has the highest proportion of Hispanic or Latino residents in the state; [Pols emphasis] only 52 percent of residents described themselves as non-Hispanic white on the U.S. Census, while 38.8 percent of residents identify as Hispanic. 4.1 percent of the people living in the district are of Asian background and 2.3 percent are Black.

Kulmann could have kept the point limited to the du jour issue of fentanyl smuggling, but she went on to decry “illegal border crossings” in general–personalizing the issue in a way she could have avoided. We’re not suggesting that Latino voters are monolithic on immigration or any other issue, but there’s no question that attacking immigrants in the state’s most Latino district is politically very risky. It plays directly into the hands of Democrats in the general election, who are fielding a choice of two well-known Latino elected officials in their primary. It’s another example of how Republican politics have diverged from the mainstream so much that there’s just no way to represent their agenda honestly without turning off a large, potentially decisive segment of voters.

Because if Kulmann doesn’t give the Republican base the red meat they’re looking for, Barbara Kirkmeyer and Lori Saine will! All of these candidates are locked into messages ahead of the June 28th primary that become toxic the following day. This may be Colorado’s most evenly-divided congressional seat by party registration, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

If you thought for whatever reason Kulmann would be immune to these problems, now you know better.

6 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JohnInDenver says:

    "and some, I assume, are good people."

    Anyone happen to know how the new District 8 would have voted in the Presidential general elections of 2016 and 2020??


  2. Gilpin Guy says:

    These Republican politicians will have a lot of baggage to deal with in the General.  Clawing back to the middle is going to be tough when you have happily spent the last ten years being at the extreme end of extreme right politics.  They are all beatable in a General.

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