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February 15, 2024 12:29 PM UTC

Scott James Isn't Rolling Over For "Gabbin' Gabe" In CO-08

  • 1 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
Weld County Commissioner Scott James (R).

On paper, the race for Colorado’s Eighth Congressional District should be attracting the top tier of Republican challengers to run against Democratic incumbent Rep. Yadira Caraveo, who won this newly created seat by a slim margin in 2022–with some help from a Libertarian candidate who drew more votes than Caraveo’s margin of victory. But that hasn’t been the outcome of GOP candidate recruitment in this highly competitive seat, with the current primary field consisting of a relatively unknown state representative “Gabbin’ Gabe” Evans, a somewhat better-known strident conservative radio host and Weld county commissioner Scott James, a laugh-track disgraced former state representative Janak “Dr. Nick” Joshi, and one other guy even less likely to win named Joe Andujo. Joe O’Dea, the 2022 U.S. Senate loser who was rumored to be interested in a carpetbagging run for CD-8, appears to have reconsidered, and Gabe Evans picked up the endorsement of U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson in a signal that D.C. Republicans were settling for what’s available.

Evans and James are considered the two strongest contenders in this primary field, though neither has raised enough money to emerge as a prohibitive favorite, and both posting tiny fractions of incumbent Rep. Caraveo’s large haul in the last quarter. Speaker Johnson’s backing of Evans could help him raise money, but as Monte Whaley writes for the Westminster Window, Scott James is touting his list of local endorsements that he thinks will carry more weight in the June 25th primary:

James said he’s been endorsed by over 40 former and current elected officials, including former U.S. Senator Hank Brown, several county commissioners and current Thornton mayor Jan Kulmann.

“D.C. is making its choice while the people in Colorado are making their choice in backing me,” James said Monday. James said he’s a known, consistent element and voters will trust him to make the right decisions once he’s elected in November…

As for the value of Speaker Johnson’s endorsement in swing CD-8, the best comparison available would be Johnson’s endorsement of Lauren Boebert in the neighboring CD-4 GOP primary, which has not translated into grassroots support for Boebert in that race based on the results of two debate straw polls since that time. Will CD-8 Republicans put stock in the endorsement of a House Speaker who was unknown just a few months ago and whose support on the MAGA right is already wearing thin?

James remains unimpressed with the support Evans is gathering. [Pols emphasis]

“People know what they are going to get when they vote for me,” said James, a local talk radio host and former chair of the Weld County Republican Party.

Thornton’s Kulmann said James’ experiences as a local government leader make him the better choice.

“…Scott James understands the importance of being a strong voice for this community,” Kulmann said in her endorsement of James. “Our working families continue to struggle with high inflation, staggering rents, and uncertainty in the job market.”

James will need to back up the local support he’s cultivated since getting into the race last summer with better fundraising performance, but at least as of the latest reporting period, Gabe Evans hasn’t not raised enough to shut James entirely out. Ultimately, the winner of this primary will be determined by whether the MAGA right dominates the voting, which would favor James. At the same time, Evans has an emerging habit of providing unsatisfying equivocal-ish answers to hard questions that James has easy red-meat answers for. That too favors James in the GOP primary.

For these reasons, it’s easy to understand why Scott James still sees a path, especially with the threat of a big-name carpetbagger on the wane.

Comments

One thought on “Scott James Isn’t Rolling Over For “Gabbin’ Gabe” In CO-08

  1. I'm surprised someone hasn't capitalized on the establishment squish forcing out conservatives voices. There should be a right wing revolt over what clearly was a pay off.

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