A Colorado primary election guide for procrastinators: A crash course in candidates and key moments

A roundup of our coverage as well as coverage from other sources for statewide and local races.

An automated signature scanner processes nearly every one of the votes casted in the election that ended on June 28, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

An automated signature scanner processes nearly every one of the votes casted in the election that ended on June 28, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Colorado’s primary election looms. It’s so close, and there are so many candidates and races out there, that we wanted to provide you with a nice roundup of our coverage as well as coverage from other great sources for statewide and local races over the last several months.

For starters, we got the Big One: The race to become Colorado’s next governor. Democrats and Republicans — and unaffiliated voters who choose to cast their vote in one of these primaries — each have four candidates to choose from. We also have some information for the attorney general’s race, 1st Congressional District and the 6th Congressional District.

And please, unaffiliated voters, remember to only cast one ballot in the primary. You can only vote on the Democratic or Republican ballot — you cannot vote on both. Doing so will invalidate your ballot. The primary you participate in will be public information.

So with that, here are your choices and information to help you make an informed decision.

Gubernatorial candidates: Democrats
Democratic gubernatorial candidates Mike Johnston (clockwise from top left), Cary Kennedy, Jared Polis and Donna Lynne. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Democratic gubernatorial candidates Mike Johnston (clockwise from top left), Cary Kennedy, Jared Polis and Donna Lynne. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Mike Johnston is a former teacher, principal and Colorado state senator. To learn more about Johnston, you can listen to his CPR interview and read this profile on the Colorado Independent.

Cary Kennedy is the former State Treasurer, Deputy Mayor of Denver and CFO. To learn more about Kennedy, you can listen to her CPR interview and read more about her on Denverite.

Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne is currently Gov. John Hickenlooper’s No. 2 and former executive at Kaiser Permanente. To learn more about Lynne, you can listen to her CPR interview and read more about her on Denverite. 

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis is currently serving in U.S. Congress, is a former businessman and Colorado state board of education member.  To learn more about Polis, you can listen to his CPR interview and read his profile on Denverite.

Curious to learn more about where they stand?

Here’s more information about their ideas on addressing certain issues from past debates and forums, as well as other information on where they fall on certain state and national policies:

When facing one another directly: Here are 3 takeaways from Democrats running for governor during their final debate

Here’s what people thought before the final debate.

On immigration: Hickenlooper has banned the state government from helping enforce federal immigration policy. What would his potential replacements do?

On clean campaigns: Here’s what the buzz was when a single negative ad showed up.

On education: Democratic candidates for governor have made a lot of claims about each other on education — here’s a fact-check

On medical marijuana: Hickenlooper rejected medical marijuana for autism treatment in Colorado. What would his potential replacements do? 

On housing and homelessness: Here’s what the candidates said at a discussion at Shorter Community AME Church.

Party loyalists are still pushing the idea of a “blue wave” in 2018. Here’s what that sounded like at the state assembly, even as tensions were on display.

Experts say Colorado elects centrists. Some Colorado Democrats say those days are gone.

Gubernatorial candidates: Republicans
Republican gubernatorial candidates Doug Robinson (clockwise from top left), Victor Mitchell, Walker Stapleton and Greg Lopez. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Republican gubernatorial candidates Doug Robinson (clockwise from top left), Victor Mitchell, Walker Stapleton and Greg Lopez. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Greg Lopez is the former Mayor of Parker. To learn more about Lopez, you can listen to his CPR interview and read his profile on the Colorado Independent.

Victor Mitchell is a former state representative and businessman. To learn more about Mitchell, you can listen to his CPR interview and read his profile on the Colorado Independent.

Doug Robinson is a former businessman. To learn more about Robinson, you can listen to his CPR interview and read his profile on the Colorado Independent.

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton is a former businessman and CEO. To learn more about Stapleton, you can listen to his CPR interview and read his profile on the Colorado Independent.

Curious to learn more about where they stand?

Here’s more information about their ideas on addressing certain issues from past debates and forums, as well as other information on where they fall on certain state and national policies:

How are they different? Here are 3 takeaways from Republicans running for governor of Colorado during their final debate

And here’s what they sounded like at the Western Conservative Summit, where Greg Lopez won a straw poll.

Here’s what the buzz was before the final debate.

Here are takeaways from an earlier debate that Stapleton didn’t attend. In that Republican debate without the biggest insider, candidates for governor worked to out-outsider one another

On immigration: Hickenlooper has banned Colorado from supporting family separation at the border. What would his potential replacements do?

On medical marijuana: Hickenlooper rejected medical marijuana for autism treatment in Colorado. What would his potential replacements do?

Here’s arguably the biggest moment of the election so far: When Stapleton suddenly abandoned his effort to get on the ballot via petitions, went to the Republican state assembly at the last second and trounced Attorney General Cynthia Coffman entirely out of the race. That assembly also gave Lopez a big boost.

Stapleton wasn’t the only candidate with petition problems. Doug Robinson had some of his own, but ultimately made the ballot anyway.

Attorney General candidates: Democrats
Colorado Attorney General candidates Phil Weiser (left) and Joe Salazar. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Colorado Attorney General candidates Phil Weiser (left) and Joe Salazar. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Phil Weiser is a former CU Law School Dean who formerly worked in the Department of Justice in the Obama Administration.

State Rep. Joe Salazar is a Colorado native with a background in civil rights law.

We spoke to both candidates about how they will approach the AG’s office and how they differ from one another.

Attorney General candidate: Republican
Colorado Attorney General candidate George Brauchler speaks with a reporter, June 15, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Colorado Attorney General candidate George Brauchler speaks with a reporter, June 15, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denverite.com

Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler — who initially announced he was running for governor, enjoyed some early popularity, then dropped out to run for AG — is running unopposed in the Republican primary, so he will be the party’s candidate. We wrote about his candidacy and how he will try to keep the seat in GOP hands.

1st Congressional District candidates: Democrats
Saira Rao (left) and U.S. Congresswoman Diana DeGette. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Saira Rao (left) and U.S. Congresswoman Diana DeGette. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette is an 11-term Congresswoman representing Denver.

Saira Rao is a political newcomer who’s a former attorney and founder of a children’s book publishing company.

This district is among the safest for Democrats in the state — so this primary effectively decides who’ll represent it in Congress. Here’s where the candidates say they differ.

This primary figures to be DeGette’s toughest challenge in years, after Rao qualified by both submitting petitioning ballots and earning enough votes during the congressional assembly. Their race has not been without some controversy.

1st Congressional District candidates: Republicans
CD1 candidate Casper Stockham speaks on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Greg Lopez at a forum on homelessness and housing at the Shorter Community AME Church, May 31, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

CD1 candidate Casper Stockham speaks on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Greg Lopez at a forum on homelessness and housing at the Shorter Community AME Church, May 31, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Casper Stockham is running unopposed, so he will be the Republican candidate in the 1st Congressional District race. Stockham ran for the same seat in 2016, losing to DeGette in the General Election.

CNET wrote a profile on Stockham during his first run two years ago, when he was working as an Uber and Lyft driver.

6th Congressional District candidates: Democrats
District 6 congressional candidates Jason Crow (left) and Levi Tillemann. (Kevin J. Beaty and Esteban L. Hernandez/Denverite)

District 6 congressional candidates Jason Crow (left) and Levi Tilleman. (Kevin J. Beaty and Esteban L. Hernandez/Denverite)

Kevin J. Beaty

Jason Crow and Levi Tillemann are vying for a shot to flip the Republican-held seat.

We also touched a bit on their race during a profile about the divide among Democrats. The Denver Post has a preview on this race, whose district primarily includes Denver’s next-door neighbor, Aurora.

6th Congressional District candidate: Republicans
Congressman Mike Coffman speaks to reporters in his Aurora office, May 31, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Congressman Mike Coffman speaks to reporters in his Aurora office, May 31, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman doesn’t have a challenger in the Republican primary. He will be the party’s candidate. Here’s a collection of stories we’ve published about Coffman, who was first elected to the U.S. House in 2008:

At town hall, Mike Coffman gets boos on health care and cheers on immigration

Rep. Mike Coffman thinks Republicans need to scale back health care plan – for now

Rep. Mike Coffman pushes to create protections for some undocumented immigrants 

General Assembly

We’ve taken a look at some of the competitive Denver-area races for State House and State Senate in a year that sees a wave of progressive candidates battling each other in crowded — and historically expensive — campaigns.

State House District 4

State House District 5

In State House District 9, incumbent Rep. Paul Rosenthal missed the ballot, leaving Emily Sirota and Ashley Wheeland to duke it out. That’s another race with an unusual campaign finance situation.

State Senate District 32

State Senate District 34