Brittany Pettersen, Yadira Caraveo get nod as Democratic nominees for two close congressional contests

The ballot for the June 28 Colorado Democratic congressional primary was largely finalized Tuesday evening, with state Sen. Brittany Pettersen easily getting the nod from her party to be the nominee in the 7th Congressional District.

The district, centered on Jefferson County, has been held by Rep. Ed Perlmutter for the last 16 years. He announced in January his intention to step down at the end of his term in January 2023.

In Colorado’s newly formed 8th District, expected to be one of the closest political contests in the nation, State Rep. Yadira Caraveo made the ballot for the Democrats Tuesday.

Votes were still being tallied for her opponent, Adams County Commissioner Charles “Chaz” Tedesco, and a final say on whether he reached the threshold of 30% of delegate support at the assembly won’t be officially determined until Wednesday.

The Colorado Democratic Party held its assembly for congressional seats Tuesday night in separate virtual events.

Pettersen, who vied to represent the 7th in 2017 when Perlmutter briefly considered running for governor, took 237 votes to her opponent George English’s four votes.

“I promise I’ll make you proud,” said Pettersen Tuesday, surrounded by supporters holding campaign signs bearing her name.

Before the vote, Pettersen addressed the assembly via Zoom.

“The 7th Congressional District, which has gone from being a reliable Democrat seat … to one of the most competitive in the country, which is quite frankly my favorite type of race,” she said. “In fact, we were just recently added to the DCCC’s top tier priority races of seats we must win in order to hold the U.S. House majority — so you live in one of the most impactful places in the country.”

The race in the new 8th Congressional District, which overlays the agricultural and oil and gas-producing fields of Weld County and the sprawling suburbs of Adams County north of Denver, is set to be a fierce battleground in November.

The state’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission last year said the district has more registered Democrats than Republicans, but it noted that Donald Trump would have beat Hillary Clinton by 1.7% in the 2016 presidential contest had the district been in existence.

“It’s time for your voices, the voices of working Coloradans — too long overlooked — to be represented in Washington, D.C.,” Caraveo, a pediatrician who lives in Thornton, told assembly delegates via Zoom.

Aside from qualifying for the primary ballot at the assembly, Caraveo also gathered sufficient valid signatures through the petition process, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office announced Tuesday.

On the Republican side of the 8th Congressional District ticket, Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann and state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer made the primary ballot through the petition process.

Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine will also appear on the ballot in the 8th, though she was chosen by delegates at the GOP’s congressional assembly last weekend.

The only other Republican vying for the seat in the 8th — business owner Giulianna “Jewels” Gray — did not get enough votes at the assembly to qualify. She is also trying to get on the ballot through signature gathering.

In the 7th Congressional District, the Republicans haven’t yet held their assembly.

In other results from across the state for the Democrats Tuesday, Sol Sandoval reached the 30% minimum for the 3rd Congressional District ballot. He will join Adam Frisch and Alex Walker, both of whom petitioned their way on to the ballot.

The winner in June will likely face controversial GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert in November.

Rep. Joe Neguse will be on the ballot for Democrats in the 2nd Congressional District, Rep. Jason Crow will be on the ballot for the 6th Congressional District, and Ike McCorkle will represent Democrats in the 4th District contest.

Diana DeGette, Colorado’s longest-serving representative to the House, also made the June ballot at Tuesday’s assembly.

The party held its assembly for the 5th Congressional District, represented since 2007 by Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, on Saturday. Two candidates — David Torres and Michael Colombe — will appear on the primary ballot for the Democrats in the heavily conservative district.

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