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August 28, 2023 01:55 PM UTC

Ron Tupa is Not Going to be the First Person to Do This

  • by: Colorado Pols
Former State Rep. Ron Tupa embarks on the road to disappointment.

There are more than 3.9 million active registered voters in Colorado. Republicans account for about 24% of these voters, followed by Democrats at 27%. Active voters in Colorado registered as “Unaffiliated” make up most of the rest of the total, with 47% listed as of the end of July.

You could argue, as some do, that an “Unaffiliated” candidate in Colorado would thus have a YUGE advantage in a General Election over both Republicans and Democrats. The problem with this argument, as we’ve noted many times in the past, is that “Unaffiliated” is not a political party; it is merely a designation to indicate that someone has registered to vote but chosen not to affiliate with a particular political party. We know from registration and election data that most “Unaffiliated” voters tend to vote (more or less) for either Republicans or Democrats.

In fact, the last “Unaffiliated” candidate to win an election for a significant non-local office in Colorado was…um…

…As far as we know, it has NEVER happened in Colorado. Yet former state lawmaker Ron Tupa apparently thinks he can be the first person — ever — to break that streak.

He’s wrong.

Tupa is a longtime Boulder Democrat who served 14 years in the State House of Representatives and State Senate (1994-2008). Tupa changed his voter registration in April 2023 to “Unaffiliated,” and he recently filed paperwork to be a 2024 candidate for Congress in CO-07, the district that Democrat Brittany Pettersen won in 2022 by 15 points over Republican Erik Aadland.

Tupa’s official candidate filing for Congress in CO-07.

We don’t know why Tupa decided to run for Congress in CO-07 as an “Unaffiliated” candidate, but we have absolutely no hesitation in promising that he won’t be elected in 2024. In addition to trying to run as a “U,” Tupa doesn’t live in the actual district. The seventh congressional district — which meanders from northern Jefferson County all the way south to Cortez — does not include Boulder (there are no residency requirements for Congressional candidates, but it’s still never a good idea to run for an office that doesn’t even include your own neighborhood).

Tupa’s residency is probably the least of his problems as a candidate. He’s been out of sight and mind in Colorado politics for way too long to suddenly attempt a bid for anything, let alone a strong Democratic Congressional seat. Tupa, 57, was first elected to the State House in the same year that Colorado voters approved term limits. Seriously.

We’ll be watching to see if Tupa publicly states a reason for this quixotic new campaign. We may not yet know how this all started, but again, we already know how it will end.


7 thoughts on “Ron Tupa is Not Going to be the First Person to Do This

    1. When it comes to politicians, in a contest between ego and common sense, the ego always wins out.

      To borrow a phrase FDFQ likes to say, "I alone can fix this!"

      I had hoped to focus my US House donations to Adam Frisch and Yadira Caraveo but now I may have to send $$$ to Brittany. Again.  🙁

      1. Agreed, this is a head scratcher.  Does not make sense, just forces folks like you and me to donate to Brittany when donations would be better spent to help other candidates who need the donations in more competitive races. 

      2. May want to wait until the field is set and a fund-raising report for the candidates is in.

        Brittany Pettersen won bigly in 2022, and the Big Line now lists her chance of re-election at 80%.  Frankly, when (if?) the Republicans. come up with a candidate and if Tupa stays in, I'd expect the dynamic would be incumbent Democrat Pettersen pulling D and D-leaning votes, and the "anti-Pettersen" voters would split between options. 

        Political race gauges all show the district as solid D

        Source,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Ranking,,,,,,,,,,As of

        The Cook Political Report[4],,,,,,,Safe D,,,,,,,,,,July 28, 2023

        Elections Daily[5],,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Safe D,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,June 8, 2023

        Inside Elections[6],,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Safe D,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,July 28, 2023

        Sabato's Crystal Ball[7],,,,,,,,,,Safe D,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,June 8, 2023

  1. Pettersen would probably still be able to win assuming that the GOP nominates another unknown crackpot (extremely likely to happen) and assuming turnout is similar to or exceeds what it was in 2022 (also very likely since it is a presidential year). It means that some of Brittany's 15% margin – my guess is 5% or substantially less – will be siphoned off by Tupa.

    The problem is that Pettersen will be running scared and constantly beating her tin cup thereby siphoning off money that should go to Frisch and Caraveo.

  2. Tupa has no money , according to current FEC finance reports, no website, no apparent policy positions. Why is  he running?

    Pettersen has done a good job in Congress, though I still don’t trust her to do the right thing on Colorado health access after she backstabbed Dr. Aguilar and the Health Care for All Colorado initiative. Pettersen also has not come out for Medicare for All, nor any comprehensive public health bill, although she is OK on protecting existing benefits and advocating for piecemeal reforms. Health insurance companies are still among her biggest donors. 

    But I don’t see Tupa advocating for universal health care, either. I conclude that his real purpose is to undermine the electable  Democrat and help whatever screwball the Rs put up. 


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