BRIGHTON — Although much of the attention around Colorado’s November election has been focused on races for Governor, Secretary of State and United States Senate, two races in the newly created 8th Congressional District could have major implications at both the federal and state level.
The new U.S. House of Representatives seat could help flip the control from Democrats to Republicans and unseat Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.
Current State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, who overwhelmingly won the Republican nomination in a four-way primary race, told Complete Colorado her race is one of the most competitive in the nation and a seat she wants to win badly, so she can help move the nation forward.
“It’s considered a true toss up,” Kirkmeyer said. “It’s very competitive. But as Republicans, when we do win, we have to come together and unify. We need to figure out what our message is to move this nation forward, not go after each other and not get things done. The message that we believe in American people, that we put America first and how we plan to get it back on track, it’s one of the first things I did as state senator.”
Kirkmeyer’s primary opponents were critical of her as a “career politician,” having served five terms as a Weld County Commissioner and now two years in the Colorado State Senate, but Kirkmeyer says she doesn’t see it as a career, she sees it as a desire to help her community, a passion she has always had since owning her own dairy farm.
“I feel really good about my race,” Kirkmeyer said. “I ran a very positive race. I made a promise I wouldn’t go negative, and I kept my promise.”
Her long tenure representing Weld and Adams counties has given her the knowledge she needs to beat her opponent, she said.
Kirkmeyer said she believes she’s already won one battle with Pelosi when she fought back against an ad Pelosi’s Political Action Committee ran against Kirkmeyer claiming she never supported former President Donald Trump in an effort to make her look like a soft conservative and prop up her opponent Lori Saine, who the Democrats believed they had a better chance of beating in November because of her extreme views.
“Comcast pulled that ad because it was so false,” Kirkmeyer said. “That was our first win against Nancy Pelosi.”
8th unlike any other congressional district
Kirkmeyer said one thing she has noticed is that many don’t pay attention to the fact that CD-8 does not look like any other district in Colorado, and she believes her family history in the area and her agriculture and ranching background is what gives her the advantage against her opponent, Democrat Yadira Caraveo.
The recently created district spreads north across sections of Adams, Larimer and Weld counties, and includes the cities of Westminster, Brighton, Commerce City, Thornton and Greeley, among others.
She said Caraveo’s comments that “no way in hell is there going to be a federal ban on abortion,” are shortsighted.
“I don’t think she knows her district,” Kirkmeyer said. “To think this district is similar in demographics as the rest of the state, is wrong. It’s not. It is about 38 percent Hispanic and about 42-43 percent Catholic. How goes the state is not how goes CD-8.”
Kirkmeyer’s comments were in reference to a large pro-life constituency. Kirkmeyer also pointed out the district’s relevancy in agriculture and energy production to the state.
“It is first in agriculture and first in energy, those are the two major industries in this district,” Kirkmeyer said. “That is different from the rest of the state. Democrats are not looking at the nuances of this district.”
State Board of Education up for grabs
At the state level, the State Board of Education gained two new seats due to Colorado’s growing population; one at-large seat and one represented by the 8th Congressional District. Winning those two seats for the Republicans would flip control of the Board from its current 4-3 Democrat majority.
Most don’t realize that control of the Board of Education has huge implications on many aspects of how the children of Colorado are educated. And the past two years has brought to light the importance of local control for school districts more than ever, so Republicans regaining control of the Board could change everything from who has control over charter school authorizations to affecting sex and gender education in curriculum standards.
Political strategists have said that the new seats are the most competitive in the state this year, and a large number of Hispanics in CD-8 are likely to be the deciding factor. According to the Gazette, a Magellan Strategies poll found the majority of voters think schools are on the wrong track.
Covid restrictions, charter schools, Critical Race Theory (CRT) and transgender equity requirements being proposed in the state’s teaching standards are among the top reasons enrollment is down and more and more parents are opting to home school.
It became noticeable in the 2021 elections when Republicans won majorities on numerous school boards across the state, something that has not been done before, as the Colorado Education Association has historically been able to pack boards with their own pro-union progressive choices.
Republicans are hoping the momentum will carry into 2022 at the state level, but if money is an indicator, Democrats are far out pacing their opponents.
Running for the at-large seat from the two major parties are Democrat Kathy Plomer and Republican Dan Maloit. Plomer has out-fundraised Maloit nearly 4-to-1 as of the recent filing, with $47,000 raised and $44,000 on hand. Maloit has raised about $12,500, with nearly $10,000 still on hand.
In the CD-8 seat, Greeley Democrat Rhonda Solis, a former Greeley-Evans School District 6 board of education member has raised $20,000 with $17,000 of that still on hand, while her Republican opponent, Peggy Propst, a former State Board of Education member, has raised about $8,000. Propst, however, has outspent her opponent, having only about $600 still on hand.
Although Solis will campaign on her Hispanic roots, she will face stiff pushback from a district that has felt the damages caused by progressive policies put in place by Democrats maybe more so than most, from increased taxes, fees and regulations, severe restrictions on oil and gas development, as well as business shutdowns during COVID-19.
Solis is known for her strong support of masks and vaccines for students, as well as supporting CRT and transgender equity in the curriculum — something parents in her school district pushed back hard on, electing three conservatives who campaigned on removing the mask mandate and CRT from the district.
Solis also opposes charter schools.
“It is imperative to our success that schools be welcoming places to children of all identities and backgrounds,” Solis says on her website. “In order to create spaces that welcome our collective diversity, it’s vital that we develop training programs and policy guidelines celebrate the unique cultural heritage and identity of each student and the strength of a collective diversity of thought.”
Propst is a former public-, charter- and private-school teacher, she was the board chairwoman for a charter school, and she previously served on the State Board of Education from 2004-2010, representing the Colorado Springs area. She moved north into Adams County, and when the new congressional lines were drawn, Propst was drawn into CD-8 and believed it was a sign to get back to the table and help Colorado’s children once again, she has said many times on the campaign trail.
“I was there that fateful day on August 3, 2010, when the National Common Core standards were adopted,” Propst says on her website. “During the last year of my term, I lead the effort to oppose this change, predicting that allowing the federal Department of Education to dictate standards would result in declining academic scores and a dumbing down of our children.
“I believed they would implement standards that did not align with most parent’s values, and that indoctrination of teachers and students would occur. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the votes necessary to defeat this action, and the results of the last 12 years speak for themselves. We must go back to Colorado standards!”
Our unofficial motto at Complete Colorado is “Always free, never fake, ” but annoyingly enough, our reporters, columnists and staff all want to be paid in actual US dollars rather than our preferred currency of pats on the back and a muttered kind word. Fact is that there’s an entire staff working every day to bring you the most timely and relevant political news (updated twice daily) from around the state on Complete’s main page aggregator, as well as top-notch original reporting and commentary on Page Two.
CLICK HERE TO LADLE A LITTLE GRAVY ON THE CREW AT COMPLETE COLORADO. You’ll be giving to the Independence Institute, the not-for-profit publisher of Complete Colorado, which makes your donation tax deductible. But rest assured that your giving will go specifically to the Complete Colorado news operation. Thanks for being a Complete Colorado reader, keep coming back.