Colorado Primary Election Recap 2022 

by Larry Hudson, The Fulcrum Group

Despite low voter turnout, moderate Republicans prevailed in the top line races, but not so for Democrats in down-ticket races.

Going into the evening, the conventional wisdom suggested low turnout favoring fringe candidates in both parties.  That was not the case, however, for the Republican ticket. Despite an influx of funding (nearly $3 million) from the Democratic Governors Association and other national groups that surreptitiously advanced the candidacies of Republicans Ron Hanks for US Senate, Tina Peters for Secretary of State, and Greg Lopez for Governor because of their extreme policy positions, thus making them easier to defeat in the general election, mainstream candidates prevailed in all of these races.  Joe O’Dea will face incumbent Michael Bennet for the U.S. Senate race, Heidi Ganahl will face Jared Polis in the Gubernatorial race, and Pam Anderson will face off against incumbent Jena Griswold for Secretary of State. Republican State Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer will be pitted against Democrat State House Member Yadira Caraveo in the newly created Congressional District 8, and Congressman Lauren Boebert defeated State Senator Don Coram and will likely be re-elected to Congressional District 3.

On the Democratic side, top line candidates were not contested in primary races. Governor Polis is expected to self-fund his race again and is likely to be re-elected by a comfortable margin. Other top-line races are less certain. Down ballot, a number of State House and Senate races pitted extreme progressives against moderates, and in those races all but one of the far left candidates prevailed (Katie March HD 6). In Republican legislative primaries, moderate candidates survived, including the House Minority Leader, Hugh McKean, and the Senate Minority Leader, Paul Lundeen.

These results are good news for those hoping for a change in leadership in the State Senate where the Democrats control the majority by a margin of 20-15. The Republicans need to pick up three seats to establish the majority. One seat is highly likely to change hands from Democrat to Republican following redistricting (SD 4), and Republicans are closely eyeing SD 3 (Pueblo), SD 11 (Colorado Springs), and SD 20 (an open seat due to Sen. Brittany Peterson running for CD 7). The House margin is to wide to flip, so all eyes are on the Senate. If the more extreme candidates prevailed at the top of the Republican ticket last night, it would have significantly handicapped the chances for down-ticket Republicans to pick up seats.  The Senate majority, however, is now clearly in play. The one remaining question is the impact that the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade will have on all these local elections.

Click Here for a chart listing the 2022 General Election lineup, as well as the results of the primary races where there were challengers.  Please contact me if you have any questions about Tuesday’s primary results.