State Rep. Yadira Caraveo will be the Democratic nominee in Colorado's newly created 8th Congressional District after the Thornton pediatrician received enough votes at Tuesday night's district assembly to prevent anyone else from making the primary ballot.
With 70.72% of the delegate vote, Caraveo managed to keep primary rival Charles "Chaz" Tedesco, an Adams County commissioner and former union president, from reaching the 30% needed to qualify for the June 28 primary, according to an announcement released Wednesday afternoon by the Colorado Democratic Party.
Caraveo learned just hours before the virtual assembly convened on Tuesday that she had qualified for the primary by petition, gathering more than the required 1,500 signatures from fellow Democrats. Tedesco didn't submit petitions by last month's deadline, so the district assembly was his only remaining path to the ballot.
With at least four Republican candidates already qualified for the ballot, the GOP is facing a crowded and potentially expensive primary in the district — the most evenly divided congressional seat in the state, targeted by both national parties as key to their hopes of claiming a majority in the House after the November elections.
The 8th CD covers fast-growing portions of Adams, Larimer and Weld counties, stretching north of the Denver metro area along the Interstate 25 corridor to Greeley.
Drawn last fall by the state's independent congressional redistricting commission, the new district was designed to be competitive — former President Donald Trump won the vote within its boundaries in 2016, and President Joe Biden carried its electorate in 2020 — and is considered a Hispanic-influence district, with 38.5% of its population identifying as Hispanic, the most of any congressional district in Colorado.
"Our grassroots coalition in this district is widespread, diverse and growing stronger by the day," Caraveo said in a written statement thanking supporters for her win.
"As the daughter of immigrants, raised on my dad’s construction worker salary, I know the value of hard work. As a pediatrician serving patients across CO-08, I know that the system is no longer working for too many families. As a state legislator, I’ve worked hard to deliver for working families across Colorado in order to solve many of those issues. But there’s so much more work to be done."
Added Caraveo: "Together, our coalition will ensure that working families from Commerce City up to Greeley will have a representative in Washington who will advocate for them — not just the powerful few. It’s time for our voices — the voices of working Coloradans, too long overlooked — to be represented in Washington."
If elected, Caraveo would be the first Latina and the first physician sent to Congress from Colorado.
Tedesco didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Republicans who have made the ballot in their primary for the seat unloaded on Caraveo once news of her effective nomination had been confirmed.
"Yadira Caraveo is a dangerous Marxist whose vision for America is one where our energy industry is destroyed, our borders are opened to all, our schools are woke and our citizens are lulled into a Socialist nightmare with inflation-inducing endless government handouts," tweeted Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine, who won top-line designation in the GOP primary last weekend at the Republicans' district assembly.
"Yadira Caraveo is a partisan who would vote for Nancy Pelosi and vote with Nancy Pelosi," Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann told Colorado Politics in a text message. "She will be a voice for Pelosi — not all of the district."
State Sen. Barb Kirkmeyer, R-Brighton, said in a series of tweets that the Democrats have "embraced the fringe left and abandoned the working-class families who dominate CD 8" by nominating Caraveo.
"Caraveo is fully woke, fully socialist, and fully out of touch with Adams, Weld, and Larimer county families," Kirkmeyer said. "I look forward to contrasting my conservative record against @YadiraCaraveo's on the issues that count to CO families: reducing cost of living, defending jobs, improving public safety, securing border, defending unborn, protecting the 2nd Amend, and getting fentanyl off streets."
Tyler Allcorn, an Army Special Forces veteran, said in a text message that he's taken the fight to Caraveo for months over her support for the Biden administration's policies on immigration at the southern border and her vote on bipartisan legislation to reduce criminal penalties for possession of certain illicit drugs, including fentanyl.
"The oil and gas industry was my family’s ticket to the American dream, but Yadira Caraveo wants to destroy the industry," Allcorn said. "I served our country as a U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret fighting ISIS, but Yadira Caraveo only seems interested in serving Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi. It’s time to take back the House and that starts in Colorado’s 8th Congressional District."
Republican Giulianna "Jewels" Gray, an Adams County wedding photographer, is awaiting word whether petitions she submitted last month contain enough valid signatures.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with a comment from Republican candidate Tyler Allcorn.