Barbara Kirkmeyer vs. Yadira Caraveo: Colorado results in 8th District

Democrat Yadira Caraveo jumped in front of Republican State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer in the race for Colorado’s 8th Congressional District, as preliminary results from state election officials put Caraveo slightly ahead of Kirkmeyer.

Caraveo holds a 49% to 47% lead in early results posted in the hour after polls closed at 7 p.m.

There’s been no shortage of exclamations about the razor-thin margin separating the candidates for Colorado’s new 8th Congressional District, which will become the state’s first new seat in the U.S. House in two decades.

Only in recent days have more national political ranking sites started to move the race more firmly into Kirkmeyer’s column, as overall Republican momentum increased during the lead-up to Tuesday’s election. Roll Call, Politico and the University of Virginia’s Sabato’s Crystal Ball have issued updated rankings in recent days that give more of an edge to Kirkmeyer.

Others, such as the Cook Political Report and Bloomberg Government, have the race closer but still in Kirkmeyer’s column — at “Republican toss-up.”

“It’s really the only newly added district in the country that’s a pure toss-up,” David Wasserman, U.S. House editor for the Cook Political Report, told The Denver Post this year. “It’s at the fulcrum of competitiveness in the House, and it’s fascinating to watch.”

The district covers a swath of suburbs and farmland north of Denver, tying together the disparate interests of residents in Adams County with those calling Weld County home. It also has the heaviest Latino concentration of any Colorado congressional district, with nearly 40% of registered voters identifying that way.

Caraveo, a pediatrician and the daughter of Mexican immigrants, has served in the Colorado House for nearly four years. She would be the state’s first Latina representative to Congress. She recently shared answers to questions during a forum in Greeley in English and Spanish.

Kirkmeyer has been a fixture in Weld County politics for decades, having served as a county commissioner for multiple terms. She was elected to the state Senate in 2020, representing a district that follows Interstate 25 from Broomfield to Fort Collins.

According to recent campaign finance filings with the Federal Election Commission, Caraveo has outpaced Kirkmeyer handily in raising funds — $2.7 million to $1.1 million as of the end of September. But millions of dollars were spent by outside groups to help influence voters.

What issue resonates most with voters this fall is anyone’s guess. Democrats, who are facing a tough midterm political environment with an unpopular president in the White House, hope they can gain steam off of the U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

But a generic New York Times-Siena College poll released last month showed that the state of the economy is a far more salient issue to voters than abortion. The poll showed that 49% of likely voters planned to vote for a Republican — compared with 45% for a Democrat — to represent them in Congress.

The survey showed a dramatic swing in the preferences of women identifying as independent voters. In the September poll, they backed Democrats by 14 points whereas last month they supported Republicans by 18 points. The opinion results came on the heels of yet another dismal inflation report for September, during which prices jumped 8.2% higher than the year before.

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