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Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer jumps into increasingly crowded 8th Congressional District race

The race to represent Colorado’s newest congressional district, the boundaries of which were just approved by the state’s high court earlier this month, got more crowded Monday with the entry of Republican State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer into what is expected to be a fierce contest.

Kirkmeyer announced her candidacy for the 8th Congressional District in a press release that stated her campaign “will be about offering commonsense, conservative solutions to the challenges facing America: inflation, deficit spending, open borders, and increasing crime and lawlessness.” Her new campaign website offers no specifics of her positions on issues.

Her announcement comes less than two weeks after GOP Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine jumped into the race. Kirkmeyer was also a Weld County commissioner until she won her Senate seat a year ago.

There are two Democrats in the mix for the seat: state Rep. Yadira Caraveo, who made her intentions known this past summer, and Adams County Commissioner Charles “Chaz” Tedesco. The election is Nov. 8, 2022.

The 8th Congressional District, which covers a swath of farmland and burgeoning suburbs between Greeley and Commerce City north of Denver, is expected to be one of the most politically competitive districts in the country. It was created this year in response to Colorado’s growing population as measured by the 2020 census.

The new district straddles Adams and Weld counties, each of which offers contrasting political orientations. Republican-leaning Weld County has yielded the two major conservative candidates while Adams County, which trends blue, is home to Caraveo and Tedesco.

There are also two lesser-known Republicans — Ryan Gonzalez and Giulianna “Jewels” Gray — in the race.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee issued a statement just hours after Kirkmeyer’s announcement, attacking her for supporting a short-lived and unsuccessful 2013 secessionist movement of Weld County and surrounding counties in northeast Colorado.

The group criticized Kirkmeyer’s stances on abortion, same-sex marriage and arming teachers.