Two Democratic candidates in the primary race to represent House District 6 hauled in more than $330,000 in campaign contributions with two weeks remaining until the election.
The candidates, Elisabeth Epps and Katie March, are close in their campaign contributions, with Epps raising $175,599 and March collecting $156,746 as of Monday. March is a former legislative aide for House Speaker Alec Garnett and Epps is a prominent Black criminal justice advocate and founder of the Colorado Freedom Fund.
So far, Epps' remaining funds dwarf March's. Epps has spent $99,645, leaving her with $75,954 in the bank. While March has already spent $139,518, with only $17,227 remaining, according to their latest campaign finance reports.
The primary race between Epps and March has been one of the most contentious and dramatic of the election. Both women are seeking to replace incumbent Rep. Steven Woodrow, who was drawn out of House District 6. The Denver district is dominated by Democrats — who make up nearly 48% of the district’s active registered voters — meaning the winner of the primary is all but guaranteed victory at the general election in November.
A rarely public battle between Democratic candidates, the primary has featured accusations of racial bias in polling and criticisms from supporters of opposing candidates over allegedly taking money from conservative lobbyists.
In addition to these disputes, the House District 6 primary is also unique for its level of funding.
It's unusual for primaries to rake in big money, but the two candidates have raised $332,345 — exceeding the funding for most general election races for the state legislature. In 2020, Woodrow raised a total of $152,356 for the entire election cycle, with 80% of that money raised through the end of June. Woodrow’s primary opponent Daniel Himelspach raised $101,337.
Also significant, labor unions are actively engaging in the primary.
Epps’ main contributions are $5,350 each from the labor unions SEIU Local 105 and Colorado WINS, and $500 from the Colorado Working Families Party. Additionally, 113 people contributed the maximum individual amount of $400 to Epps’ campaign, notably Star Trek actor LeVar Burton; Denver City Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca; Christine Donner, founder of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition; Wanda James, the first Black woman to own a marijuana dispensary in the U.S.; and, Tristan Gorman, a lobbyist for the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar.
March’s largest donations are $5,350 each from the Apartment Association of Metro Denver and the Colorado Apartment Association; $4,000 each from the Colorado State Conference of Electrical Workers and COPIC Insurance; and, $3,800 from Colorado Professional Firefighters. Aurora Fire Fighters Local 1290, Pipefitters Local Union 208, Plumbers Local Union 3, Colorado Medical Society and Homes For All Coloradans also each gave between $1,000 and $2,000 to March’s campaign.
Another 99 individuals contributed the maximum $400 to March, including current and former state lawmakers, such as Garnett, Senate President Steve Fenberg, Sen. Jeff Bridges, Sen. Chris Hansen, Rep. Shannon Bird, Rep. David Ortiz, Rep. Edie Hooton, Rep. Judy Amabile, Rep. Lindsey Daugherty, Rep. Monica Duran, Rep. Dylan Roberts, Rep. Marc Snyder, former Republican Sen. Josh Penry, former Rep. Anne McGihon and former Rep. Jeni Arndt.
Colorado Politics' Marianne Goodland contributed to this report.