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Who are the candidates running in Colorado's Congressional District 4 special election and primary elections?

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The field of candidates running for Colorado's Congressional District 4 is a large one, with 11 Republican candidates on the primary ballot and five Democrats on the primary ballot. There is one Libertarian candidate who will appear on the general election ballot.


Republican Rep. Ken Buck announced last week that he will resign as Colorado's 4th Congressional District representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. His last day is Friday.

Last November, Buck announced he would not seek reelection and leave office at the end of his term in January 2025. At the time, he said Republican leaders are "focused on contrived injustices like a stolen election instead of the real problems facing our country." 

Buck moved up that timeline last week when he announced that he was resigning months earlier than previously planned. The five-term congressman cited dysfunction in Congress and increasing political polarization as reasons for his departure.

Former Rep. Ken Buck CBS

From March 22 when Buck leaves Congress until late June, Buck's seat in Congress will be empty. The special election that Gov. Jared Polis ordered will be held on June 25, coinciding with Colorado's primary elections for House races. It will result in a representative to serve in Congress and represent CD4 through the remainder of what would have been his term.   

Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Republican who currently represents Colorado Congressional District 3, is leaving her district to run for Buck's seat in November's election. Boebert will not be a candidate in the special election because she plans to serve out the end of her current term in Congress. 

The list of Republican candidates on the primary election ballot are: Lauren Boebert,  Mariel Bailey, Deborah Flora, Richard Holtorf, Trent Leisy, Michael Lynch, Chris Phelen, Justin Schreiber, Jerry Sonnenberg, Floyd Trujillo, and Peter Yu. 

Those candidates participated in a debate in Fort Lupton in January. 

The list of Democrat candidates on the primary election ballot are: Karen Breslin, Trisha Calvarese, Ike McCorkle, and John Padora Jr.

Rep. Lauren Boebert
WASHINGTON - MARCH 13: Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., walks down the House steps at the U.S. Capitol after a vote on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.  Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Voters in the primary election will narrow down the list to one candidate for Colorado Congressional District 4 in each party in the Nov. 5 general election. 

Libertarian candidate Douglas Mangeris will appear on the general election ballot in November as he is the only candidate for that party. 

Colorado's 4th Congressional District includes most of the rural eastern half of Colorado and the heavily populated Douglas County in the southern part of the Denver metro area. It also includes the city of Loveland in Northern Colorado. Aside from Democrat Betsy Markey, who served from 2009 to 2011, the district hasn't had a Democratic representative since 1973.  

The candidates who will appear on the special election ballot will be determined by each party. The Republicans chosen for the vacancy committee will meet on March 28 to determine who will appear on the special election ballot. The Democrats will meet for an online convention on April 1 to choose who will appear on the special election ballot to replace Buck. Under Colorado law, both parties must pick a nominee by April 1. 

CBS News Colorado's Republican analyst Dick Wadhams says the party can't just appoint Buck's replacement, since the U.S. Constitution requires a special election within 75 to 90 days of the congressman's resignation. 

Wadhams said the 4th Congressional District chairs from both parties will likely reconvene their 2022 conventions, which consist of hundreds of delegates from all 21 counties in the district. Each convention will then choose one nominee to be on the special election ballot. 

The Democratic candidates considered for the special election are: John Padora, Karne Breslin, Ike McCorkle and Trisha Calvarese.

The Colorado Republican Party so far has not confirmed the list of special election candidates.

Wadhams also said Colorado could have two elections with two different outcomes within just a few months. The winner of the special election would hold office for the next seven months, he says, but if that person loses the primary, he or she wouldn't be on the general election ballot or hold office after November.

Colorado has only had one other special election like this in recent memory. That was when Rep. Jack Swigert was elected in 1982 and then died of cancer the next month. Voters in Congressional District 6 elected Rep. Daniel Schaefer to serve out his term.  

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