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Field set for Colorado special election to fill Buck seat

Party picks Republican who’s not running against Boebert in primary for full term

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., leaves the U.S. Capitol after the last votes of the week on Feb. 15, 2024.
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., leaves the U.S. Capitol after the last votes of the week on Feb. 15, 2024. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A Republican former mayor who ran twice for governor and a Democratic first-time candidate will face off in Colorado’s 4th District on June 25 in a special election to fill the vacancy created by Rep. Ken Buck’s resignation. But if the Republican wins, he won’t be in Congress long, because he is not running for a full term.

While party committees in the 4th District each picked the nominees for the special election to serve Buck’s unexpired term, there are competitive primaries — also on June 25 — to pick nominees who will serve in the next Congress.

Among the GOP candidates is Rep. Lauren Boebert, who switched from the more competitive 3rd District in the western part of the state, which she currently represents, to run in the solid red 4th District in eastern Colorado. She did not compete to fill Buck’s unexpired term, and criticized the scheduling of the primary and special elections on the same day as a “swampy backroom deal.”

Buck had announced in November that he planned to retire at the end of this term, then on March 12 said he would leave Congress at the end of the following week, triggering the special election.

Boebert underwent surgery Tuesday after a blood clot was found in her leg. Boebert was diagnosed with May-Thurner Syndrome, a rare condition that disrupts blood flow. Her physician, Dr. Rebecca Bade, said in a statement she expects Boebert to make a full recovery.

Democrats nominated first-time candidate Trisha Calvarese to fill the remainder of Buck’s term. She’ll face Republican Greg Lopez, the former mayor of Parker who ran lost bids for the gubernatorial nomination in 2018 and 2022, who won the backing of Republicans at a party nominating convention. Lopez told Colorado Newsline that he is a “placeholder” candidate.

The open seat has drawn a crowd of Republicans. In addition to Boebert,  Republicans who filed petitions to run for the full term include parents rights activist and radio host Deborah Flora; former state senator and cattle rancher Jerry Sonnenberg; state House members Richard Holtorf and Mike Lynch; Chris Phelen, a former congressional aide who was chief of staff to retiring Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo.; and Floyd Trujillo, a Marine Corps veteran and oil and gas industry official.

In addition to Calvarese, Democrats vying for the full term include Karen Breslin, a political scientist; Ike McCorkle, also a Marine Corps veteran; and John Padora, an engineer and environmental scientist.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race as Solid Republican.

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