President (To Win Colorado) See Full Big Line

(D) Kamala Harris

(R) Donald Trump

80%

20%

CO-01 (Denver) See Full Big Line

(D) Diana DeGette*

(R) V. Archuleta

98%

2%

CO-02 (Boulder-ish) See Full Big Line

(D) Joe Neguse*

(R) Marshall Dawson

95%

5%

CO-03 (West & Southern CO) See Full Big Line

(D) Adam Frisch

(R) Jeff Hurd

50%

50%

CO-04 (Northeast-ish Colorado) See Full Big Line

(R) Lauren Boebert

(D) Trisha Calvarese

90%

10%

CO-05 (Colorado Springs) See Full Big Line

(R) Jeff Crank

(D) River Gassen

80%

20%

CO-06 (Aurora) See Full Big Line

(D) Jason Crow*

(R) John Fabbricatore

90%

10%

CO-07 (Jefferson County) See Full Big Line

(D) B. Pettersen

(R) Sergei Matveyuk

90%

10%

CO-08 (Northern Colo.) See Full Big Line

(D) Yadira Caraveo

(R) Gabe Evans

70%↑

30%

State Senate Majority See Full Big Line

DEMOCRATS

REPUBLICANS

80%

20%

State House Majority See Full Big Line

DEMOCRATS

REPUBLICANS

95%

5%

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
June 26, 2024 12:50 PM UTC

Winners and Losers of the 2024 Colorado Primaries

  • 4 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

WINNERS

Campaign Fundamentals

Running for elected office is hard, but it isn’t particularly complicated. You shake a lot of hands, raise a lot of money, and then use those funds to get your name and message out to potential voters. There were a lot of candidates who lost on Tuesday after failing to check some basic boxes. 

For example:

  • Ron Hanks
    When he ran for the Republican Senate nomination in 2022, Hanks actually outperformed eventual winner Joe O’Dea in the third congressional district. After Lauren Boebert bounced from CO-03 to run in CO-04 instead, Hanks thought that there was a path for him to be the Republican nominee in the third congressional district. And there was…if Hanks had done some basic campaign work. 

    Hanks raised very little money – you’d have to actually try to do worse than Hanks on the fundraising front – and would have had no paid media presence in the district if not for outside groups “helping” him out (a Democratic-aligned group called “Rocky Mountain Values” spent several hundred thousand dollars educating Republican voters about Hanks’s right-wing bonafides in hopes that he might defeat Jeff “Bread Sandwich” Hurd). Even though he eventually received the endorsement of the Colorado Republican Party, Hanks apparently made no effort to convince other candidates to leave the race. If he had done some basic campaign work and figured out a way to get some of the detritus out of the way in what became a 6-candidate field, Hanks could have won this race instead of falling to Hurd by a 41-28 margin.
  • Timothy Mariano Hernandez
    Who is that, you ask? This is the name that appeared on the ballot for Democratic voters in HD-4, who bounced the politician otherwise known as Tim Hernandez in favor of Cecelia Espenoza. Candidates can largely decide how their name appears on the ballot, and for some inexplicable reason Hernandez decided to go with his full name. Name ID matters a lot in political campaigns, particularly in down-ballot races, so it’s critical to make sure that you are campaigning with the same name that will be on the ballot.

    This isn’t the reason Hernandez lost, but it didn’t help. Hernandez was appointed via a vacancy committee last summer, and what ultimately doomed his hopes to be elected to a full term was a common mistake: He assumed the entire electorate shared the same beliefs and values as a small group of people – in this case the dozen or so folks from the vacancy committee. Hernandez never seemed to grasp that he represented more people than the hard-left Democratic Socialists who made up his base. Politicians who can’t see outside of their own bubble often see it popped by a broader group of voters. 

 

Personal Decency

Here’s a good first rule for any politician: Just don’t be an asshole. The aforementioned Hernandez alienated a lot of people with his Che Guevara impression; yet compared to his fellow Democratic Socialist Elisabeth Epps, he was practically Mr. Rogers. Epps was an insufferable jerk to everyone she encountered during her brief time in the state legislature, which made it really easy for challenger Sean Camacho to rack up endorsements and support for his challenge in HD-6 (which he won in blowout fashion by a 63-37 margin). Republican Dave Williams spent much of the last six weeks proving to be one of the foremost dickheads in Colorado and was pummeled (65-35) by Jeff Crank in CO-05. Republican Lori Saine ran a very mean-spirited campaign against Perry Buck for an at-large Weld County Commissioner seat and lost by a 63-37 margin. Republican Tim Arvidson tried to hide a ridiculously-long criminal record in SD-2 but was hammered by Lisa Frizell (66-34). 

It’s not a mystery that unlikable people generally fail at endeavors in which they require the support of other people.   

 

Lauren Boebert

Sorry, Colorado Republicans: You’re stuck with Boebert. Democrats were certainly hoping that Boebert would lose in her brazen attempt to switch districts, but it is really Republicans who lose by not getting rid of the queen of terrible headlines. Still, we have to give Boebert credit for maneuvering her way through a 400-mile move and capturing 43 percent of the vote in a six-way race. Boebert will undoubtedly go on to win the General Election and will probably hold this seat at least until redistricting in 2031. She survives politically because of the advantages of celebrity and name recognition; the incompetence of her opposition to organize around a single alternative; and the general depravity of the Republican base who seem to genuinely like what she’s selling – whatever it is.

Americans for Prosperity

The Koch-funded right-wing organization spent big money in three congressional races and saw their preferred candidates win in all of them: Jeff Hurd in CO-03; Jeff Crank in CO-05; and Gabe-ish Evans in CO-08.

 

Greg Lopez

Lopez easily won the special election race in CO-04 for the right to finish out the term vacated by the retiring Ken Buck…but not because of anything he did. A two-time candidate for governor who never came close to winning a Republican nomination, Lopez will now get to be in Congress for six months by virtue of being the Republican name on the ballot in the most Republican-heavy congressional district in Colorado. Lopez could never win this race – or any other significant race – in any other context. 

 

Trisha Calvarese

The Democratic nominee for the special election race in CO-04 fell to Lopez, as expected, but was able to defeat two other Democrats in a separate race for the Democratic nomination for a full term in the same district. Calvarese isn’t going to beat Boebert in November, but she’s making a decent name for herself and also helped Democrats break the cycle of Ike McCorkle as the no-hope challenger in CO-04 in the last few cycles. 

 

Mike Weissman

The four-term State Representative worked his ass off and overcame massive spending from Big Business in a state senate race in SD-28 (North Aurora).  

LOSERS

The Leftiest Wing

The left-left wing and Democratic Socialists had a moment in 2022 and 2023, but they lost momentum with losses by Tim Hernandez (HD-4); Elisabeth Epps (HD-6); Kyra deGry Kennedy (HD-30); and Bryan Lindstrom (HD-36). Nationally, Congressman Jamaal Bowman of New York became the first incumbent Congressional Democrat to fall in 2024

 

Big Business and Big Charter School

Business groups spend hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to boost Idris Keith over Mike Weissman in SD-28. Big Charter School spent nearly a million dollars trying to defeat Democrat Kathy Gebhart in a State Board of Education seat in CD-2; Gebhart nevertheless defeated Marisol Lynda Rodriguez by a 12 point margin. 

 

Stephen Varela and Deborah Flora

Varela, the Pueblo Republican with a closet full of skeletons, lost one of the top State Senate races of 2022 but was rewarded with a vacancy on the State Board of Education. He then tossed his hat in the ring in CO-03 and couldn’t even crack 10 percent of the vote. Electoral politics might not be his bag.

Ditto Deborah Flora, who failed to even make the Republican Primary ballot for U.S. Senate in 2022 and couldn’t crack the top two in CO-04 despite hailing from Douglas County, where the majority of the voters in that district reside. 

 

The Colorado Republican Party

The State Party, under Dave Williams, endorsed four candidates for Congress in the Primary Election. The only one who came out victorious was Boebert, and that had nothing to do with the State Party. Williams also lit tens of thousands of State Party dollars on fire in his attempt to beat Jeff Crank in CO-05. The Colorado Republican Party, in all, endorsed 18 candidates in the Primary Election; only 4 of them actually won.

 

Taylor Rhodes

The Executive Director of the flailing Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) had perhaps the dumbest comment of Election Night when he intimated that Tim Hernandez and Elisabeth Epps lost because of their support for gun violence prevention measures. You know RMGO is in trouble when the boss is trying to claim victory in two Democratic primaries in Denver

 

Josh Penry and Jerry Sonnenberg

Penry is one of the most well-known Republican political consultants despite his inability to, you know, win. Penry went 0-for-22 in 2022 yet is still being hired by other Republicans. His candidate in CO-04, former State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, was the favorite to succeed Ken Buck but ended up finishing a distant second to Boebert with less than 15 percent of the vote. Sonnenberg, meanwhile, should be embarrassed by his pitiful campaign; he couldn’t even take advantage of a huge boost from Buck, who resigned early in order to help Sonnenberg get momentum over Boebert. Sonnenberg had every opportunity to capture a safe Republican Congressional seat, and he blew all of them. 

 

In-Person Voting

Coloradans have fully embraced the easy mail ballot system that has been in place for a decade now. Of the 950,000 ballots cast in the Primary Election, only a few hundred in each major county actually came from a traditional polling place. 

 

Gabe-ish Evans

The Republican State Rep. cruised to an easy victory in the CO-08 Primary, then promptly jammed his foot into his mouth in an interview with 9News. The General Election is going to be a LOT more complicated than dispatching Janak Joshi.

Comments

4 thoughts on “Winners and Losers of the 2024 Colorado Primaries

  1. I, for one, am delighted to see the continuation of the "Klanny Oakley Cripples the Republican party Show". CD 3 Republicans are rightfully relieved she is no longer a western slope problem, but she is nothing more than a sideshow…a monkey to Trumps' organ grinder.

  2. In the pre-Doug Lamborn era in the 5th C.D., Jeff Crank was a long time staffer for moderate Republican Rep. Joel Hefley. Will be interesting to see if any of Hefley's aura is still present with Mr. Crank.

  3. Under winners, CD2 voters. They get to support one of the best legislators in the country in Joe Neguse.

    Under losers, CD4 voters. They get a clown to represent them.

Leave a Comment

Recent Comments


Posts about

Donald Trump
SEE MORE

Posts about

Rep. Lauren Boebert
SEE MORE

Posts about

Rep. Yadira Caraveo
SEE MORE

Posts about

Colorado House
SEE MORE

Posts about

Colorado Senate
SEE MORE

46 readers online now

Newsletter

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to stay in the loop with regular updates!