The most watched, and expensive, race in Denver is… still ongoing.
With a second day count, Elisabeth Epps takes the lead from Katie March in the House District 6 Democratic primary race.
With 14,547 ballots counted, Epps leads the race by 373 votes.
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 GOP candidate Donald Howell, who ran unopposed in the Republican primary, in November. The area leans heavily towards Democrats and redistricting didn’t change that. As seen in other districts throughout Denver, the Democratic candidate is likely to win in the general election.
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. She created the Colorado Freedom Fund, a nonprofit that advocates for an end to cash bonds and also provides bail for those who otherwise can’t afford it.
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.
The race was seen as a microcosm of intra-party divisions between centrist or traditional Democrats and the more left-leaning members.
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.
The party’s division also caused the race to be one of the more expensive primaries. According to Axios, Epps’ campaign raised $174,739, while March brought in $156,746. The Colorado Sun added that outside groups spent almost $467,000 on the campaign with $221,000 supporting March, $142,000 supporting Epps and $104,000 opposing Epps.
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 also shared similar sentiments on Twitter.
On Tuesday night, the numbers showcased further how the line between centrist and progressives is really thin. With 12,464 ballots counted, March led the race by only 34 votes.
As of Wednesday night, Epps leads by 7,460 votes to 7,087. Amelia McClain, a spokesperson for the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s office, said there are about 18,489 ballots left to prep and count for Thursday night, which is when the next batch of updates will drop.
McClain also said there are about 1,627 curable, or fixable, ballots. She added that voters have until eight days after the election to fix any errors such as mismatch signatures. Election results aren’t certified until July 18.