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.
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.
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.