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Polis takes sides in key Colorado statehouse Democratic primary

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Sara Wilson

(Colorado Newsline) Colorado Governor Jared Polis is backing a state House of Representatives candidate looking to unseat one of the most progressive members of the Legislature.

Attorney Sean Camacho earned Polis’ endorsement, his campaign announced Wednesday. Camacho is running in the Democratic primary in Denver’s House District 6, against incumbent Representative Elisabeth Epps.

PROMO Politician - Colorado Governor Jared Polis

Colorado Governor Jared Polis

“I trust Sean Camacho to fight hard in the Legislature for solutions that address our state’s biggest challenges,” Polis, a Democrat, said in a statement the campaign emailed to supporters. “Through his community leadership and service to our country, he has the skills and experience to find solutions and be a strong representative for the people of HD6.”

Polis endorses sparingly in state-level races. This year, he is supporting Representative Judy Amabile in her bid for Senate District 18, Representative Junie Joseph’s reelection bid in House District 10, Representative Lindsey Daugherty in Senate District 19 and Michael Carter in the open House District 36. He has not endorsed in other highly competitive races, such as in House District 4 and House District 30.

Whoever wins the primary in House District 6 will almost certainly go on to win the general election. The district, which spans parts of Capitol Hill, Congress Park and into Lowry, leans nearly 67 points in Democrats’ favor, according to an analysis from the recent redistricting process.

It will be one of the most closely watched races this primary, as Epps, who was elected to the seat in 2022, works to retain her seat following an at-times controversial first term. Ahead of this year’s session, she was removed from the House Judiciary Committee and reprimanded by House leadership for “disrespectful behaviors” on the last day of a special legislative session in November 2023. She brought forward some of the most progressive bills in the chamber this year, including a bill to ban semi-automatic weapons and a bill to let cities allow overdose prevention centers, both of which passed the House but died in the Senate.

Camacho has endorsements from the core of the state Democratic establishment, including Attorney General Phil Weiser, House Speaker Julie McCluskie, House Majority Leader Monica Duran and Senate President Steve Fenberg. He is also endorsed by organizations including the Colorado Association of Realtors, Colorado Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Professional Firefighters.

Epps, meanwhile, is backed by more labor and grassroots organizations, such as the Colorado AFL-CIO, Colorado WINS, SEIU Colorado, Moms Demand Action and the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Action Fund.

Camacho has both outraised and outspent Epps by significant margins in the race.

Colorado’s primary election is June 25.

Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.