GOPAC’s Top Races to Watch: Colorado State House of Representatives

With two weeks to go until Election Day, GOPAC’s Top Races to Watch takes a look at the Colorado State House of Representatives, where state legislative victories will be determined largely in the same swing counties and districts that were crucial for Obama to win a second term in 2012.

This year, Republicans in Colorado are looking to win at all levels with a strong slate of candidates running for Congress, Governor, State Senate and House. Polling has signaled voters are ready for a change, and with Republicans only needing to pick up one seat in the State Senate and five Seats in the State House for majority control, the GOP looks to have a lot to celebrate on election night in the Rocky Mountain state. Given the Left’s failures to turn around Colorado’s economy, Republicans are primed to win victories against these vulnerable Democrats by supporting real solutions to create jobs.

In the Colorado State House, Democrats have held a 37-28 majority since 2012 when they picked up five seats and ended two years of Republican House majorities. This year, the GOP is targeting competitive seats as they fight to win back a Republican majority.

Here is a look at GOPAC’s Top 5 Races to Watch in the Colorado State House of Representatives:

House District 3: Candice Benge (R) vs Rep. Daniel Kagan (D)

  • House District 3: Arapahoe County
  • GOP pick-up opportunity

GOPAC Construction-industry professional and the youngest party nominee on the ballot in the county, Republican Candice Benge is running in the 3rd House District this year against Democratic incumbent Representative Daniel Kagan.

In 2012, with the help of Obama on the ballot, Kagan edged out his Republican opponent to win a third term in this house seat. With a strong understanding of business and infrastructure needed to turn Colorado’s economy around, Benge has an opportunity to unseat Kagan and increase Republican’s chances for a majority in the House.

This moderate district is seen as winnable for Republicans after Democrats have pushed for tax hikes and unpopular gun laws in recent years. Through her business experience, Benge knows the importance of development and transportation and how these industries are crucial in creating jobs in Colorado. As one of the youngest candidates on the ballot, Benge believes she will bring a fresh perspective to Denver.

Learn more about Candice Benge

House District 28: Stacia Kuhn (R) vs Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D)

  • House District 28: Jefferson County
  • GOP pick-up opportunity

GOPAC Republican Stacia Kuhn is looking to unseat community organizer and Democratic incumbent Brittany Pettersen in the 28th House District.

Stacia Kuhn is running to make sure Colorado is open for business. She has seen the state drop from 2nd in economic opportunity to 22nd in the last four years. By working with entrepreneurs and small businesses she has seen first-hand the regulations that are stifling economic growth. Having started her own small business, Kuhn is committed to, “promoting an environment where residents are empowered to achieve economic success through freedom of opportunity, educational excellence and personal liberty.”

Recently, the Colorado State Legislature passed strict gun legislation which has led to Democratic legislators being recalled in 2013. As the daughter of a police officer, Kuhn will stand up against these recent gun laws that were passed which unlawfully restrict legal gun use.

Learn more about Stacia Kuhn

House District 29: Susan Kochevar (R) vs Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D)

  • House District 29: Jefferson County
  • GOP pick-up opportunity

GOPAC Susan Kochevar is running to pick up a seat in the evenly split House District 29 against Democratic State Representative and former lobbyist Tracy Kraft-Tharp. In 2010, this was an extremely close race that gave Republicans majority control of the State House.

As a single mother and small business owner, Kochevar believes that businesses do not currently have a voice at the Capitol in Denver. She is dedicated to creating more jobs for Colorado and balancing the state budget by eliminating job-killing regulations, incentivizing businesses to move to Colorado and creating an environment for businesses to grow and hire more workers. In her own words, business owners and entrepreneurs should, “spend less time filling out regulatory paperwork and instead spend more time with our families and friends enjoying life in Colorado.”

On the other hand, Kochevar’s opponent, former lobbyist Representative Kraft-Tharp, worked to end the 6% spending cap in the state that kept politicians from wasting taxpayer money. Just like in 2010, this seat could be the one to help regain the Republican majority in the House and turn Colorado’s economy around.

Learn more about Susan Kochevar

House District 33: Marijo Tinlin (R) vs Rep. Dianne Primavera (D)

  • House District 33: Broomfield and Boulder Counties
  • GOP pick-up opportunity

GOPAC Republican Marijo Tinlin, an author and small business owner, is running against Representative Democrat Dianne Primavera in the 33rd House District. In 2012, Republicans lost this seat by 5%; the same margin President Obama carried the state by.

Tinlin and her husband run a consulting firm that assists small businesses and entrepreneurs. She understands the hurdles that businesses face and wants to create a more responsible government in Denver. As an author and mother, Tinlin will also fight for choice in education and what is best for students, not teachers unions.

While serving in the State House, Dianne Primavera has consistently voted to raise taxes, including a $3.8 billion property tax increase. She also voted against important measures to reform education in Colorado. Primavera supports pay raises for bureaucrats and lifting the 6% cap on government spending in Colorado.

Endorsed by the Colorado Chamber and National Federation of Independent Business, Tinlin looks to pick up a seat for the GOP this November.

Learn more about Marijo Tinlin

House District 59: J. Paul Brown (R) vs Rep. Mike McLachlan (D)

  • House District 59: Archuleta, La Plata, Hinsdale, San Juan, Ouray Counties, Gunnison County (part)
  • GOP pick-up opportunity

GOPAC J. Paul Brown is a former Republican State Representative looking to regain the seat he lost in the 59th House District. In this 2012 rematch, J. Paul Brown will face Democratic State Representative Mike McLachlan who narrowly won by 2%.

As the Representative for House District 59, Brown opposed higher taxes, costly regulations and unnecessary laws. As a businessman and rancher, Brown believes he has the solutions that are needed to help turn Colorado’s economy around.

Democrat Rep. McLachlan is known for his support of the controversial gun legislation which he cosponsored, and was almost recalled over, in 2013. This legislation has become highly unpopular in Colorado and will be a prominent issue in this rural district this fall.

Learn more about J. Paul Brown