Colorado statehouse incumbents lead challengers in Jeffco, Denver in early returns

Sitting state lawmakers in the Denver area are leading their primary challengers in early results Tuesday night.

In the House District 22 race for the seat representing south Jefferson County, incumbent Rep. Colin Larson of Littleton had 56% of the vote compared to former Rep. Justin Everett’s 44% in the Republican primary just after polls closed at 7 p.m.

The race has become a contentious one as part of a larger battle within the GOP over what extent candidates should toe the party line — particularly on social issues. House District 22 is one of the most expensive statehouse races on the primary ballot, with nearly $359,000 in outside money spent, some of it on attack ads.

In the House District 6 race, three Democrats are vying for the seat currently held by Steven Woodrow of Denver. Woodrow was appointed by a committee in February to replace Chris Hansen, who stepped down to fill Sen. Lois Court’s seat. Woodrow had 45.7%, Steven Paletz 30.5% and Dan Himelspach 23.8% in early results. This was another expensive race, with Democrats spending $366,000 — more than 50% of it their own money, according to Follow the Money CO.

In Hansen’s race to retain the Senate District 31 seat, he was leading with 55.7% of the vote to Maria Orms’ 44.3%.

Some races in Weld County have been as contentious as the Jefferson County race, with outside groups spending tens of thousands of dollars to back candidates in the solidly Republican districts. For example, in the House District 48 race — a race that some Republicans say, like Larson’s, could play a role in challenges to House Minority Leader Patrick Neville’s leadership — $314,000 in outside money was spent. Tonya Van Beber had 56.8% votes and Grady Nouis 43.2% in early returns.

Early results in other contested primaries in the Denver metro area:

Senate District 23
Democrats: Sally Boccella 54.5%, Galina Nicoll 45.5%
Republicans: Barbara Kirkmeyer 57.6%, Rupert Parchment 42.4%

House District 30
Republicans: Kerrie Gutierrez 51.9%, Cynthia M. Sarmiento 48.1%

House District 38
Democrats: David Ortiz 66.2%, Candice Ferguson 33.8%

House District 40
Democrats: John Ronquillo 50.9%, Naquetta Ricks 49.1%

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