Former Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran drops out of congressional race

Crisanta Duran, former Colorado Speaker of the House and candidate for the U.S. House, speaks to a reporter at a Sunnyside coffee shop, March 1, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Crisanta Duran, former Colorado Speaker of the House and candidate for the U.S. House, speaks to a reporter at a Sunnyside coffee shop, March 1, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Former Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran ended her bid to represent Denver in Congress on Friday, announcing in an email she was withdrawing her candidacy just eight months after launching her bid.

“Today I am announcing my decision to withdraw my candidacy from Congressional District 1 because I truly believe I can be more effective in pursuing transformational change through other means,” Duran’s email read. “Words cannot begin to express my gratitude to those who had the courage to support the campaign and demand bold and innovative leadership for the people of Congressional District 1.”

Duran was attempting to unseat U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat who has represented the 1st Congressional District since 1996. The district includes Denver and surrounding suburbs. While Duran had named recognition, she posted only modest fundraising numbers and trailed DeGette.

Duran declared her primary candidacy in February. It marked the third-consecutive cycle that a primary opponent had risen to challenge DeGette in a primary. But Duran’s jump into the House race came as a surprise to many political observers, who had long pegged Duran as a potential challenger for Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner. Former Gov. John Hickenlooper is now widely seen as the Democratic favorite since he joined the race after ending his presidential bid.

Jennie Peek-Dunstone, a spokesperson for the DeGette campaign, said in a statement Friday that Duran was a “formidable opponent.” She wished her luck “on her new ventures.”

“The level of support garnered by Congresswoman DeGette shows that she is working on the issues that matter to the people of CD 1,” Peek-Dunstone said in the statement. “She is working to lower the cost of prescription drugs, protect Colorado’s environment, get assault weapons off our streets and hold President Trump accountable through the impeachment process. She looks forward to focusing exclusively on this ever more urgent work for the people.”

The latest figures available from the Federal Elections Commission showed Duran’s campaign had $85,647.65 cash on hand. Duran said in the email she plans on using campaign contributions to donate to the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

Duran was Colorado’s first Latina Speaker of the House. She represented the 5th House District in Denver from 2011 to 2019.

Denverite has reached out to Duran for comment. Former campaign staffer Steve Welchert, who said he left Duran’s campaign in May, declined to comment.

Correction: An earlier version incorrectly stated Duran served in the state Senate. 

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