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After months of speculation, anticipation, and heartened campaigning, the 2018 Colorado primary yielded very few surprises Tuesday evening. While a tight race emerged in the Democratic primary for attorney general, frontrunners and incumbents largely rolled to victory without drama as the two parties elected nominees in the contests for governor, U.S. Congress, State Assembly, and many state offices. While ballots will continue to be counted late into the night and throughout the week, here’s what we know so far.
Last updated 7:20 a.m. on Wednesday, June 27.
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Polis and Stapleton Will Square Off For Governor
Who’s replacing Hickenlooper? It’s the question we’ve all been asking for more than a year, and as the primary campaigns got underway last fall, the field was wide open. Early on, it seemed Colorado—one of only seven states yet to do so—might finally elect a woman to its highest office. Those hopes were dashed on Tuesday, as Jared Polis handily defeated Cary Kennedy and Donna Lynne by winning 45 percent of the vote in the Democratic gubernatorial primarily. Polis, who has represented the state’s 2nd Congressional District since 2009, would be the country’s first openly gay governor if he wins in November.
In the Republican field, state treasurer Walker Stapleton triumphed by winning nearly fifty percent of the primary vote on Tuesday. Victor Mitchell, who received 30 percent of the vote, was the only Republican candidate within shouting distance of Stapleton.
DeGette, Lamborn, Crow, and Neguse Advance
One of the most compelling races leading up to Tuesday’s primary was the robust challenger Saira Rao taking on long-time Congresswoman Diana DeGette in the Democratic primary for Denver’s 1st Congressional district (including Denver County). Rao, an anti-establishment candidate who out-raised DeGette in the first quarter of 2018 without accepting PAC money, ultimately was vanquished by DeGette, who won the primary with about 70 percent of the vote. Similarly, Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn, who has represented Colorado’s 5th Congressional District since 2007, cruised to a primary win by garnering more than fifty percent of the vote over four challengers.
While DeGette and Lamborn are both household names in Colorado politics, a new face emerged in the Democratic primary for Colorado’s 6th Congressional district. Jason Crow, a former Army Ranger and first-time candidate, defeated Levi Tilleman by garnering about 66 percent of the vote. Crow will face the incumbent Republican Representative Mike Coffman in November. In the race to replace Jared Polis in Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District (Boulder County), Joe Neguse bested Mark Williams by winning more than 65 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary. If Neguse beats Republican Peter Yu in November, he will be the first black Congressman from Colorado.
A Tight Race for Attorney General
One of the tightest races of the night came in the Democratic primary for Colorado attorney general—a race to replace Cynthia Coffman, the Republican who left office to run for governor but did not ultimately make the primary ballot. Even as of Wednesday morning, the battle between Democratic candidates Phil Weiser and the Bernie Sanders-endorsed Joe Salazar was too close to definitively call; most recently, Weiser sat with about 50.8 percent of votes and Salazar with 49.22 percent. In November, Weiser or Salazar will face George Brauchler, a Republican who ran unopposed.