Editor’s Note 4/27/2018: The gubernatorial race is so unpredictable that shortly after we sent this issue to the printer, Cynthia Coffman failed to make the primary ballot, but former Parker mayor Greg Lopez did. The story has been updated here.

The Hopefuls

The top contenders (as of press time) to become the Centennial State’s next leader.

Mike Johnston (D), Denver
Top Issues: Education, gun safety, and growth

Cary Kennedy (D), Denver
Top Issues: Education, health care, and growth

Greg Lopez (R), Elizabeth
Top Issues: Regulations on small business, education, and eliminate fraud and abuse in the fiscal system

Donna Lynne (D), Denver
Top Issues: Health care, education, and the environment

Victor Mitchell (R), Castle Rock
Top Issues: Health care, regulations on small business, and infrastructure

Jared Polis (D), Boulder
Top Issues: Education, renewable energy, and health care

Doug Robinson (R), Englewood
Top Issues: Transportation, education, and health care

Walker Stapleton (R), Greenwood Village
Top Issues: The economy, transportation, and ending sanctuary cities

Life After the Primary

After the June 26 primaries finally whittle the candidate list down, don’t expect to get a break from politics before November. “There’s so much on the ballot,” says CU Denver’s Paul Teske, pointing to other statewide races, yet-to-be-determined ballot initiatives, and the fact that much of the state Legislature is in play. “It means that any one race gets less attention than if it were standalone.” And if your favorite candidate doesn’t win the primary, don’t fret: This won’t be the last election cycle you will see some of these faces. “This is about getting the bench ready for down the run,” CSU’s Kyle Saunders says. As for who will win? Personality is still what matters. Even if the math shows that a candidate can win without ever leaving the Front Range, that single-minded approach won’t work when the victor has to get to work. “Turnout determines everything,” Saunders says. “If you can get your voters out, you can appeal to the electorate and resonate with them.”

Important Dates

June 4: Primary election ballots are mailed to registered, active voters
June 26: Primary election (you can return your ballot by mail or at a drop-off location after you receive it)
October 15: General election ballots are mailed to registered, active voters
November 6: General election (you can return your ballot by mail or at a drop-off location after you receive it)

Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner is a Denver-based writer and the former Articles Editor for 5280.