The battle between two progressive democrats in the House District 6 Democratic primary is… ongoing.
After an 11:30 p.m. voting update Tuesday and with 12,464 ballots counted, the race between Elisabeth Epps and Katie March was still too close to call.
March is currently leading by 34 votes. According to election rules, a recount is triggered if the difference between the two votes is less than or equal to 0.5%. Currently, the difference is .05%.
The winner of the District 6 Democrat seat, which covers east Denver, including Capitol Hill, Congress Park, East Colfax, Hale, Lowry and Windsor, will go on to face Republican candidate Donald Howell in November. District 6 historically leans heavily Democratic, and recent redistricting didn’t change that.
Both Epps and March consider themselves progressive Democrats. They both focused on key Colorado (and Denver) issues, including housing, climate change, and gun law reformation, but Epps was seen as the more liberal candidate.
Epps is an attorney, longtime justice reform activist and community organizer. She’s also an abolitionist, which means she advocates for defunding and getting rid of police in exchange for other public safety policies. On Mother’s Day in 2018 she made headlines for raising over $25,000 to post bond for mothers held in the Denver jail system. She went on to found the Colorado Freedom Fund, a nonprofit that bails out people who otherwise can’t afford to post bond. The Fund also advocates for an end to cash bonds.
The race for HD6 was one of the more expensive primaries, netting more than $407,000 in so-called dark money as of June 1. Most of the money, over two-thirds, went to March, while the remaining went to promoting Epps. According to Axios, Epps’ campaign raised $174,739, while March brought in $156,746.
Epps told the Denver Post that the money spent against her makes her question the motives of Colorado Democrats and why they’d support a “less progressive white woman.” She’s also shared similar sentiments on Twitter.
March is a historian and former Democratic caucus staffer. She got involved in Colorado politics in 2016, working first as an advisor to then-Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran. She has since worked in a variety of roles for House Democratic leadership.
March most recently worked as an advisor for outgoing Speaker Alec Garnett. Her focus was gun-violence prevention, helping to pass Colorado’s red-flag law in 2019.
It’s unclear how many ballots remain to be counted, but Alton Dillard, spokesperson for the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s office, said the department will have a clearer answer on Wednesday when counting resumes and the next batch of results drops at 5 p.m.