Democrats hold fundraising edge in competitive Colorado House races | Subscriber Content

Democrats hold fundraising edge in competitive Colorado House races | Subscriber Content


The November election could bring big changes for the Colorado House of Representatives. 

Last year, the state redrew its district boundaries, moving many sitting lawmakers and changing the political balance of each district. This has made several House seats competitive for the first time in a decade. That, in addition to eight House representatives facing term limits and numerous others stepping down to pursue other offices, could seriously shake up the House. 

While Democrats aren’t at risk of losing control of the chamber — currently enjoying a whopping 41-24 majority — Republican candidates have a shot at flipping a substantial number of seats this November, potentially creating a nearly evenly split Legislature. Republican candidates will, however, have to overcome a fundraising deficit in all but one of the races projected to be most competitive. 

Colorado Politics identified those districts by looking at the estimated competitiveness from the redistricting commission’s report, in addition to the most recent active voter registration numbers from July and the Aug. 1 campaign finance reports from the Secretary of State’s Office. It should be noted that the redistricting competitiveness estimates are based on election results from 2016 onward, possibly overestimating Democrat advantages due to unprecedented levels of turnout those years. 

With just over two months remaining until the election, here are the top 10 state House races to watch this November:

House District 18: Marc Snyder (D) v. Shana Black (R)

Redistricting estimate: 0.3% toward Democrats

Voter registration: 23.7% Democrats, 27.8% Republicans, 46.2% unaffiliated

Based on the redistricting analysis, House District 18 is the most evenly divided district in the state, only leaning toward Democrats by 0.3%. However, voter registrations show that the district leans slightly to the right, with more than 2,000 more active Republican voters than Democrats. Unaffiliated voters trump both parties, making up more than 26,000 of the more than 57,000 registered voters in the district. 

HD 18 falls within El Paso and Teller counties, including Manitou Springs, Green Mountain Falls and a portion of Colorado Springs. The district is currently represented by Democratic Rep. Marc Snyder. Though Snyder won his 2020 race by 23 percentage points, he is expected to face a tougher bid for reelection with his new district boundaries. Republican candidate Shana Black, an attorney, stepped up to challenge Snyder, beating her primary challenger Summer Groubert 68% to 32% in June.

So far, Snyder is winning the money race, having raised more than $70,000 for his campaign, in addition to over $10,000 in leftover funds from his previous campaign. Black has raised just over $10,000 and taken out a nearly $11,000 loan. The spending is closer, with Snyder spending around $35,000 and Black spending just over $19,000. That leaves Snyder with over 25 times more money to spend than Black going into the final two months of the campaign. 

House District 61: Eliza Hamrick (D) v. Dave Woolever (R)

Redistricting estimate: 0.5% toward Democrats

Voter registration: 26.2% Democrats, 27.0% Republicans, 45.5% unaffiliated

House District 61 has a slightly stronger Democratic lean according to the redistricting analysis, but an even closer split among registered voters. Of the more than 62,000 active registered voters in the district, only 499 separate the Republicans and Democrats, favoring the Republicans.

HD 61 is an open seat in Arapahoe and Douglas counties, including parts of Aurora and Centennial. The district’s current Rep. Julie McCluskie was redrawn into HD 13 and Rep. Tom Sullivan, newly drawn into HD 61, is running for the state Senate instead. Democrat Eliza Hamrick, a former high school teacher, and Republican Dave Woolever, an Air Force veteran and college professor, are set to face off for the seat in November after both candidates ran unopposed in the primary. If Woolever wins the election, it would flip the seat.

Hamrick is dominating fundraising, having raised more than $70,000 compared to Woolever’s $6,600 in donations and $5,170 in loans. Both candidates have spent modestly thus far, with Hamrick dishing out just over $12,000 and Woolever spending around $5,000.

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House District 19: Jennifer Lea Parenti (D) v. Dan Woog (R)

Redistricting estimate: 1.5% toward Republicans

Voter registration: 24.7% Democrats, 26.1% Republicans, 47.4% unaffiliated

In HD 19, both the redistricting analysis and voter registration results point to a small Republican advantage. However, the more than 29,000 active unaffiliated voters in the 62,000-registered voter district ensure that the election could go either way, especially with the departure of the district’s current representative, Republican Rep. Tim Geitner. 

While technically an open seat, the race includes Republican Rep. Dan Woog, drawn out of District 63 after being elected in 2020 with just under 60% of the vote. Though HD 19 leans slightly right, it’s substantially more balanced than Woog’s former district, promising a more competitive election than he’s faced before. After redistricting, District 63 is the most Republican district in the state with a 53.8% lean.

The Democratic candidate facing Woog is Jennifer Lea Parenti, an Air Force veteran who ran unopposed in her primary. The district is made up of several cities in Boulder and Weld counties, including Firestone, Erie and parts of Longmont and Northglenn.

Like the district’s party makeup, the fundraising race has been balanced between the two candidates. Parenti has raised over $36,000 and spent just under $12,000, while Woog has raised around $34,000 and spent $6,000. This leaves both candidates with more than $20,000 to spend in the next two months.

House District 25: Tammy Story (D) v. Colin Larson (R)

Redistricting estimate: 1.8% toward Republicans

Voter registration: 24.2% Democrats, 28.7% Republicans, 45.6% unaffiliated

Similar to HD 19, HD 25 leans slightly Republican in both the redistricting analysis and the voter registration. There are more than 3,000 more active registered Republicans in the district than Democrats, though the more than 30,000 unaffiliated voters easily fill the gap. 

In a rare situation, the race for HD 25 features two current lawmakers. Democratic Sen. Tammy Story is looking to return to the House after serving one term in the Senate, and Republican Rep. Colin Larson is running after being drawn out of HD 22. With two incumbents in the race and a Republican-leaning district, this is one of the seats the GOP is hoping to flip, currently being represented by Democratic Rep. Lisa Cutter, who is running for the Senate. The district, in Jefferson County, includes all of Morrison and part of Littleton.

Story is leading in fundraising, having collected just under $52,000 to Larson’s $40,000 in contributions and $2,300 in loans. Story has also spent more than Larson at $25,000 and $20,000, respectively, leaving the candidates with nearly equal funds left over for the final stretch.

House District 59: Barbara McLachlan (D) v. Shelli Shaw (R)

Redistricting estimate: 2.2% toward Democrats

Voter registration: 22.2% Democrats, 29.0% Republicans, 47.0% unaffiliated

House District 59 displays another inconsistency between the redistricting analysis and the voter registration, with the former estimating a 2.2% Democratic advantage and the latter showing a nearly 4,500-voter Republican advantage, again leaving the election in the hands of the district’s massive unaffiliated population.

The district — including Archuleta, La Plata and San Juan counties and parts of Montezuma County — is currently represented by Democratic Rep. Barbara McLachlan, who is seeking reelection. Though McLachlan enjoys an incumbency advantage and won her seat by some 11 percentage points in 2020 under the old maps, the Republican lean among active registered voters may give the GOP an opportunity to flip the seat this November. Republican candidate Shelli Shaw is challenging McLachlan. Shaw, a schoolteacher who moved to Colorado in 2021, ran unopposed in her June primary.

McLachlan is far ahead in fundraising, having raised nearly $59,000 in addition to $3,000 in leftover funds from her previous campaign. Shaw has raised just under $27,000. McLachlan has spent only $560 so far on her campaign, leaving her with more than $60,000 to spend by November. Shaw has spent more than $9,000.

House District 28: Sheila Lieder (D) v. Dan Montoya (R)

Redistricting estimate: 2.3% toward Democrats

Voter registration: 26.2% Democrats, 26.5% Republicans, 45.6% unaffiliated

House District 28 has the closest active voter registration composition of any district on this list, with Republicans outnumbering Democrats by only 230 registrations. Despite the minor Republican lead, the district also has more than 27,000 unaffiliated voters and a 2.3% Democratic advantage based on the redistricting analysis.

HD 28 is an open seat inside of Jefferson County, including a portion of Lakewood. Current Democratic Rep. Kerry Tipper chose not to run for reelection, opening the door for candidates Sheila Lieder — a Democratic member of the Tri-County Workforce Development Board — and Dan Montoya, a Republican Marine Corps veteran. Lieder only began her campaign in August after Democratic nominee Leanne Emm dropped out of the race due to a health condition. Emm previously ran unopposed in the primary race.

Less than a month into her campaign, Lieder has no fundraising on the books, while Montoya has raised just over $4,000 and spent around $800. It’s noteworthy that this is the only race on this list in which Republicans hold the cash advantage and it is not due to prolific GOP fundraising, but due to Democrats being forced to put forward a last-minute replacement candidate. 

Redistricting estimate: 2.7% toward Democrats

Voter registration: 23% Democrats, 28% Republicans, 47.4% unaffiliated

House District 26 has just under 3,000 more Republican voters than Democrats, according to active voter registration, but nearly 28,000 unaffiliated voters. Even with the apparent right lean, the redistricting analysis puts the district at a 2.7% Democratic advantage.

The HD 26 seat was left open by Democratic Rep. Dylan Roberts, who is leaving to run for the Senate. Two political newcomers are now battling to represent the district: Democratic high school teacher Meghan Lukens and Republican home-schooling mom Savannah Wolfson. Lukens ran unopposed in her primary, while Wolfson defeated her opponent Glenn Lowe III with 61.5% of the vote. District 26 includes Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt counties and parts of Eagle County.

Lukens has nearly tripled Wolfson’s fundraising so far, raising around $75,000 to Wolfson’s $27,000. However, Wolfson has spent slightly more, more than $18,500 to Lukens’ $17,700. This leaves Lukens with over six times more remaining funds than Wolfson with two months left in their campaigns.

House District 38: David Ortiz (D) v. Jaylen Mosqueira (R)

Redistricting estimate: 2.9% toward Democrats

Voter registration: 26.4% Democrats, 27.8% Republican, 44.0% unaffiliated

House District 38 again leans toward Democrats according to the redistricting analysis but has a larger Republican population, with just under 900 more Republican registered voters than Democrats. Though the district has the lowest percentage of unaffiliated voters on this list, it’s still a major plurality of more than 28,000 unaffiliated voters.

Democratic Rep. David Ortiz is running for reelection to represent HD 38 in Arapahoe and Jefferson counties. As with McLachlan, Ortiz beat his opponent by just over 11 percentage points when he won the seat in 2020. But he is now facing a redrawn district with more registered Republicans than Democrats, leaving the potential for the GOP to flip the seat. The Republican candidate running against Ortiz is Jaylen Mosqueira, a legislative aide who ran unopposed in his primary.

Ortiz is leading fundraising by far, having collected more than $88,000 in addition to nearly $1,500 in leftover funds from his previous campaign. Ortiz has spent more than $34,000 so far, leaving him with over $55,000 on hand. Mosqueira has raised more than $26,000 and spent around $8,000.

House District 16: Stephanie Vigil (D) v. Dave Donelson (R)

Redistricting estimate: 3.1% toward Republicans

Voter registration: 23.6% Democrats, 27.1% Republicans, 46.8% unaffiliated

House District 16 appears to have a Republican advantage for both the registered voters and the redistricting analysis, with the former favoring Republicans by around 1,800 voters and the latter favoring Republicans by 3.1%.

HD 16 is in El Paso County and includes a portion of Colorado Springs. The district’s current representative, Republican Rep. Andy Pico, was drawn out of the district, opening the door for Democrats to try to flip the seat. While the district seems to lean right, Democratic candidate Stephanie Vigil — a community organizer and second-time House candidate — has dominated in fundraising compared to her Republican opponent Dave Donelson, an Army veteran and Colorado Springs City Councilmember. Both ran unopposed in their primaries.

Vigil has raised more than $28,500 in addition to $1,200 left over from her previous campaign and $4,500 in loans, while Donelson has raised just over $9,300. Vigil has spent nearly $18,000 leaving her with more than $16,000 remaining. Donelson has spent nearly $3,400 and has just under $6,000 left.

House District 13: Julie McCluskie (D) v. David Buckley (R)

Redistricting estimate: 5.4% toward Democrats

Voter registration: 24.4% Democrats, 26.3% Republicans, 47.3% unaffiliated

Rounding out the top 10 is House District 13 with a considerable 5.4% Democratic advantage, according to the redistricting analysis, but an over 1,100-voter surplus in registered Republicans compared to Democrats. The more than 30,000 unaffiliated voters in the district will ultimately decide the fate of the election.

HD 13 is technically an open seat after Democratic Rep. Judy Amabile was drawn into HD 49 instead; however, Democratic Rep. Julie McCluskie of HD 61 was drawn into HD 13 and is running for reelection. McCluskie is facing Republican David Buckley, a business owner who ran unopposed in his primary. HD 13 includes Grand, Jackson, Lake, Park and Summit counties and parts of Chaffee County.

McCluskie has raked in more money than any other candidate on this list, sitting at $91,000. Buckley has raised just over $8,000 so far. Although, Buckley has spent more on his campaign, spending more than $6,500 to McCluskie’s less than $4,900. This leaves McCluskie with more than $86,000 to spend by November.


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