Candidates line up to replace term-limited Colorado lawmakers in 2024

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Published Saturday, May 20, 2023
by Sara Wilson

(Colorado Newsline) With just under 18 months until the November 2024 election, candidates are already registering to replace outgoing lawmakers at the Colorado Capitol.

Fourteen lawmakers will be term-limited in 2024: six in the House of Representatives and eight in the Senate.

Representatives, who serve two-year terms, cannot serve more than four consecutive terms. Senators serve for four years and are limited to two consecutive terms.

Open seats in the House

House District 8 in northeast Denver is currently represented by Democrat Leslie Herod. So far, three people have registered with the secretary of state's office to replace Herod, all Democrats. Victor Bencomo is a Navy veteran who served as president of the Giffords Gun Owners for Safety Colorado chapter. Sharron Pettiford is an organizer and activist and serves as the 2nd vice president of the Denver NAACP chapter. Also running is Christi Devoe.

Herod won reelection in 2022 with 88.1 percent of the vote. The seat has nearly a 75-point Democratic advantage, according to an analysis of recent election results.

There are also three Democrats running to replace term-limited Democratic House Speaker Pro Tem Chris deGruy Kennedy, who currently represents the Lakewood-centered House District 30. That includes his wife, Kyra deGruy Kennedy, who currently serves as the Rocky Mountain director for Young Invincibles and does business and political consulting, according to her LinkedIn profile. Kya deGruy Kennedy has the endorsements of elected officials including her husband and House Speaker Julie McCluskie. Lakewood City Council member Rebekah Stewart is also running for the seat, as is public school teacher and union leader Rhiannon Wenning.

Chris deGruy Kennedy won his seat in 2022 with 66.6 percent of the vote. The district has a 27.6-point Democratic advantage.

House District 36 in eastern Aurora, currently represented by Democrat Mike Weissman, has four registered candidates; Democrat Idris Keith ran unsuccessfully for an Arapahoe County Commission seat in 2020; lawyer Michael Carter, also a Democrat, is currently an at-large member of the Aurora Public Schools Board of Education; Democrat Eric Olsen and Republican Pedro Espinoza, who lists himself as a law enforcement officer on his website, are also running.

Weissman won in 2022 with 64.1 percent of the vote. That district has a nearly 30-point Democratic advantage.

Democratic Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet in House District 32, Republican Rep. Marc Catlin in House District 58 and Democratic Rep. Barbara McLachlan in House District 59 are also term limited in 2024. No candidate has yet registered in those races. House District 32 is safe for Democrats, House District 58 is safely Republican and House District 59 is a toss-up.

Open seats in the Senate

Current Democratic Rep. Cathy Kipp is running to replace term-limited Democratic Sen. Joann Ginal in Senate District 14 in western Fort Collins. Kipp first assumed office in 2019.

Ginal won in 2020 with 66.6 percent of the vote. The seat has a 33-point Democratic advantage.

Over in Boulder-centric Senate District 18, current Rep. Judy Amabile is running to replace Senate President Steve Fenberg, both Democrats. Fenberg has endorsed Amabile as his successor.

Fenberg won reelection in 2020 with 82.9 percent of the vote. The district is one of the safest for Democrats in the state, with a 65-point Democratic advantage.

Democrat Obi Ezeadi hopes to replace Democratic Sen. Rachel Zenzinger in Senate District 19, which includes parts of Westminster and Arvada. Ezeadi serves as a Westminster City Council member and recently founded a political action committee to support Black, Indigenous and people of color running for state and local office.

Zenzinger won in 2020 with 59.2 percent of the vote. The seat has a 9-point Democratic advantage.

The sprawling Senate District 21, which includes parts of Commerce City and areas east of the Denver metro area, is currently represented by Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno. Michaelson Jenet, the term-limited representative, is running for that seat next year, as is Republican Frederick Alfred Jr.

Moreno won in 2020 with 63.5 percent of the vote. The district leans Democrat by about 14 points.

Weissman is running to replace Democratic Sen. Rhonda Fields in Senate District 28, centered on Aurora. Republican Cory Parella, who ran for House District 42 last year, is also in the race.

Fields won in 2020 with 68.7 percent of the vote. The district has a roughy 32-point advantage.

Republican Sen. Jim Smallwood in Senate District 2, Republican Sen. Bob Gardner in Senate District 12 and Democratic Sen. Kevin Priola in Senate District 13 are also term-limited, but no candidates have yet registered in those races. Senate District 2 is a safe Republican seat, while Senate Districts 12 and 13 are closer to a toss-up.

Candidates have also registered in other races where the incumbent is not term limited. Every House seat is up for grabs in 2024, as are 17 total Senate seats.

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