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April 24, 2024 11:36 AM UTC

The Republican Field for Congress in CO-08

  • 1 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

Colorado will have four major Congressional Primary races in June (CO-03, CO-04, CO-05, and CO-08). Now that the assembly and petition processes for ballot access are complete, it’s time to assess how each of these three races will look on June 25th…

Click below for our breakdowns of other Congressional Primary races in 2024:

We’ll include the same caveat as we explore numbers from each district: We’ve only seen results from one election since redistricting changed congressional boundaries prior to 2022, so there’s a limited amount of data with which to make comparisons.

CO-08 (Northern Metro Denver)

Gabe-ish Evans and Janak Joshi

The race for the Republican nomination in CO-08 is down to two people after a four-candidate field in 2022. Considering that this is the only truly competitive congressional race in Colorado this cycle, it’s still a bit of a surprise that Republicans aren’t exactly sending their best in an effort to unseat incumbent Democrat Yadira Caraveo.

These are your options if you are a Republican or Unaffiliated voter in CO-08:

  • Gabe-ish Evans (top line via assembly)
  • Janak Joshi (assembly)

Evans is a freshman state lawmaker and kind of a goofball. Joshi served three terms in the State House, but that was in Colorado Springs; he’s only lived in CO-08 for a handful of months. Joshi also barely made it onto the Republican Primary ballot with 30.37% of the vote at the Republican congressional assembly (30% is the requirement).

Two years ago, in the first election for Colorado’s newest congressional district, Caraveo only beat Republican Barbara Kirkmeyer by 1,632 votes. The fact that Republicans aren’t running a better group of challengers may have more to do with the fact that Colorado Republicans don’t have better candidates. Caraveo should also get some credit here: She’s kept her head down in her first term in Congress, working hard in Washington D.C. and raising big money for her re-election ($855,172 raised in Q1, leaving her with $2 million in the bank).

Evans is doing a decent job raising money and is getting help from Americans for Prosperity; the Koch-funded group has already spent at least $114,000 in support of Evans. Joshi isn’t really trying to raise money, though he has the ability to self-fund his campaign.

However, Joshi’s very existence in this race could change the trajectory of the General Election campaign by forcing Evans to move further to the right and to use up most of his campaign cash in pursuit of the GOP nomination. It’s going to be hard for national Republican groups such as the NRCC (National Republican Campaign Committee) to justify expending significant resources here in the fall when there isn’t much else on the ballot in Colorado to give the eventual GOP nominee a boost (not to mention the existence of Libertarian candidate siphoning votes in November).

Competitive Republican Primary races in other congressional races are sucking up most of the political oxygen leading up to June 25th, which no doubt impacts both fundraising and voter enthusiasm. If Republican turnout doesn’t improve much from 2022, when just 58,722 ballots were cast, the GOP nominee can sneak by with a comparatively-small number of votes; the eventual Republican nominee in CO-04, for example, might end up with more votes than Evans and Joshi combined.

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