In an attempt to fill a seat that, created 20 years ago, has been occupied by only two people, the soon-to-be-approved list of candidates for Colorado’s 7th Congressional District has been cleverly placed in the combustible political climate of 2022. while figuring out how best to do Democratic Rep. Take the place of leaving Ed Perlmutter.
Those who watch politics in the state feel that anyone can be rewarded for taking it. Yes, redistribution still leaves the Jefferson County-anchored district with a distinct Democratic advantage—a roughly 7% bump according to the state’s redistribution commission—but midterm in November is expected to be brutal for Democrats.
“I think it becomes a very competitive seat,” said Eric Sonderman, an independent political analyst. “By the time Ed held it, it wasn’t a competitive seat.”
Dick Wadhams, who was once chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, said Perlmutter was a difficult candidate to defeat after representing the district for more than a decade. The 68-year-old Colorado native announced Monday that he would not run for re-election in November.
The GOP has not held a 7th Congressional District since Bob Beauprez’s two terms, beginning in 2003.
“It dramatically increases the potential for a Republican to win 7th in 2022,” Wadhams said.
But Wadham said Republicans will come forward as the nominee — and that means a restraint on hard-line postings.
“It can’t be won by a Republican who wants to support Trump and talk about stolen elections,” he said. “It’s a definite loser.”
Wadham points out that the majority of the population of the newly created 7th Congressional District remains in Jefferson County, home to Denver’s western suburbs, which has been increasingly in the blue trend in recent years. This is a county that turned out in favor of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, Jared Polis in the 2018 gubernatorial election, and Joe Biden in the 2020 election, he said.
“It all comes back to Jefferson County,” he said.
Sonderman said a candidate who seems harsh and takes a hard-right position on issues — such as Rep. Lauren Boebert in the 3rd congressional district — will have no chance at 7th place.
“This is going to be a district controlled by soccer moms and soccer dads in Jeffco,” he said.
Several names are emerging on both sides of the aisle as candidates to replace Perlmutter. State Sen. Brittany Peterson, who had designs on Perlmutter’s seat in 2017 when Congressman was considered a run for Colorado governor, may be a potential precursor to the Democrats (Peterson’s husband, Ian Silvery, tells The Denver Post. is an opinion columnist).
“I think Paterson would be a very formidable and attractive candidate,” Sonderman said. “I think Britney is looking forward to this opportunity and I would be surprised if she didn’t take this opportunity.”
On the Republican side, State Rep. Colin Larson is a name that is growing rapidly in Jefferson County.
“Colin Larson would be the ideal Republican candidate,” Sonderman said. “No one doubts his Republican credentials, but no one thinks he’s off the deep end.”
Pietersen could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday. Larsson said he is “seriously looking” at a run and hopes to announce one way or another in a week or two.
“I’m the only Republican in Jeffco who can win this thing,” he said.
Other Democratic contenders could include former State Sen. Andy Kerr, who announced a short-lived run for 7th Congressional District in 2017, and State Rep. Chris Kennedy.
Two Republicans have already announced their candidacy for the district: Eric Edland and Laurel Immer.