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April 06, 2023 12:30 PM UTC

Colorado May Have a Contested Statewide Race in 2024 After All

  • 9 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
Lesley Smith (D-Boulder)

Democrat Lesley Smith announced on Thursday that she will not seek re-election to her statewide CU Regent seat in 2024 and will instead run for what will be an open seat in the state legislature.

Smith will be running for the seat in HD-49, which is a safe Democratic district. This isn’t ordinarily the kind of news we would find particularly worthy of mentioning, but the HD-49 part isn’t what makes this story interesting.

[Brief Tangent]: Lesley Smith herself is very interesting, if for no other reason than the fact that she is a former aquanaut. Seriously. Earlier in her career, Smith was the first woman aquanaut at the Aquarius underwater research laboratory south of Key West, Florida. In other words, she’ll feel right at home in the artificial atmosphere of the State Capitol.

With Smith officially not running for CU Regent, that means Colorado will theoretically have a contested statewide race in 2024 after all. The only other race that will be on every Colorado ballot in 2024 is President of the United States, but it’s unlikely that candidates on either side of the political aisle will make much of an effort to campaign here given Colorado’s recent trend toward Democrats (remember, Democrats won EVERY statewide race in 2022 by double-digit margins).

Once every 10 years, Colorado holds a major statewide election that does NOT include a significant statewide race. Democrats were just re-elected to all statewide executive offices in 2022 (Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Secretary of State), which means those seats won’t be up again until 2026. The next scheduled race for U.S. Senate also won’t take place until 2026 (Sen. John Hickenlooper was elected to a six-year term in 2020).

Colorado Republicans likely wouldn’t have made much of an effort to knock off Smith had she sought re-election to the CU Board of Regents. Of course, given the GOP’s recent statewide shellackings, they may not try particularly hard to win this race even as an open seat. But we now have the possibility of a competitive statewide race in Colorado in 2024.

Comments

9 thoughts on “Colorado May Have a Contested Statewide Race in 2024 After All

  1. A high quality Repub., such as former state representative Rob Witwer, would be a good candidate for CU Regent, and could draw some Dem votes. 

    Unfortunately, with the inmates now running the R mental asylum, Witwer wouldn’t have much chance of getting the nomination.

  2. I would love to see former Rep. (and state House majority leader) Alice Madden or former Rep. (and speaker pro tem) Claire Levy run for this seat. Madden was in the House during the first years after the Democratic takeover following the 2004 election and Levy was in the House for about seven years starting in January 2007.

     

  3. Why is HD49 an open seat in 2024? Has Judy Amabile announced other plans? She is not termed out until 2028 according the State House website.

      1. Web site says nothing about her positions on issues. She needs to figure out that senate districts are much larger than house districts. Not everyone knows who she is.

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