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Democrat Jason Crow, who is running to unseat U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, speaks at a campaign event with former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in Aurora on Sept. 20, 2018. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

MORE: 7 questions with Colorado’s Jason Crow on being an impeachment manager

Democrat Jason Crow is the Denver lawyer and first-time candidate trying to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in Colorado’s closely watched 6th Congressional District.

The race could be one of the most consequential this year for Colorado — and the nation — as its outcome might decide whether Democrats retake the U.S. House. With national political sentiment on the side of Democrats this November, observers say Crow likely represents the biggest challenge yet to the five-term Coffman.

Polls indicate Crow has an advantage over Coffman heading into the election’s final weeks.

MORE: In his toughest political battle yet, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman is trying to navigate his way to another re-election against growing headwinds

A 39-year-old father of two young children and graduate of University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, Crow is a combat-tested Army Ranger who completed tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He’s a Wisconsin native who has never run for or held public office before, though he has been involved in politics for years. In 2012, for instance, he spoke at the Democratic Party’s national convention in support of then President Barack Obama’s reelection bid.

Crow jumped into the congressional race in April 2017 and handily fended off a primary challenge from fellow Democrat Levi Tillemann in June.

Here are some things to know about the candidate:

Why he’s running

Crow says running for Congress was not always part of his plan.

“We have been so deeply moved by what’s going on with our country that we decided to step up again and to serve our country again,” Crow said of why he and his wife decided to jump into the contest.

He calls himself part of a new generation of leadership and is vowing to not bring a partisan agenda to Congress should he be elected.

MORE: Mike Coffman vs. Jason Crow: Where the candidates stand on the issues, from Trump to immigration and health care to guns

Crow made it onto the general election ballot by defeating progressive Democrat Levi Tillemann in the primary. Tillemann drew national media attention by secretly recording House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer saying that Democratic establishment was backing Crow in the primary instead of Tillemann.

Moving into the district

Crow didn’t actually live in the 6th District when he announced his candidacy against Coffman last year.

He lived just outside of its borders in Stapleton.

Republicans have been critical of Crow for being out of touch with the 6th Congressional District, hammering home that he didn’t actually live in its boundaries until after he launched his campaign.

In November 2017, six months after Crow launched his campaign, he moved from the Denver side of Stapleton to the Aurora side, inside the 6th District’s boundaries.

“It’s in the same neighborhood we’ve lived in for over a decade,” he said. “We obviously didn’t want that to be a distraction so we made the commitment.”

MORE: Get to know U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, the Republican running for re-election in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District

Crow says that long before he moved into the district he was working on its behalf.

“I have a long history of service not only to this country but to this community, as well, going all the way back to working with Ed Perlmutter and Mark Udall who represented this part of Aurora — the district — before the last round of redistricting,” Crow said.

On abolishing ICE/impeachment

As the more progressive wing of the Democratic party calls for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be abolished, Crow says he isn’t on board.

“I want to take a more holistic approach to it,” Crow told The Sun. “The issue is Donald Trump’s policies and what he is having certain government agencies do. You can change the name of an agency and shuffle that around, but until you hold Donald Trump accountable, and you have someone who is really willing to fight back against his policies, I don’t believe it’s going to address the underlying issue.”

Crow is also not aligned with the more progressive wing of the Democratic Party on its calls for impeachment proceedings to begin should Democrats retake the U.S. House in November.

“I’m in the rule-of-law camp,” he said. “As somebody who has taken several oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution, both when I was in the Army and later when I became a lawyer, I think we have to be very careful about how we approach this issue in that we not politicize it. We have to make sure, first and foremost, that we are defending Robert Mueller’s investigation — insulating it from political influence, and allowing that investigation to run its course.”

Jason Crow, standing, the Democrat trying to unseat U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, speaks to attendees of an Arapahoe County Indivisible gathering in August 2018. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

He said once lawmakers have all the information, “then we can make a decision as to what that looks like.”

Crow added: “It’s an option after we get the full set of information.”

Crow is taking the same tack when it comes to newly confirmed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and talks about Democrats — again, should they retake the House — trying to impeach him.

“Right now I wouldn’t” support Kavanaugh’s impeachment, Crow said in a debate hosted by CBS4, Colorado Public Television and KOA radio. “I would have to see the facts.”

Work as an attorney

Crow is currently a partner at the Denver branch of the massive Holland & Hart law firm.

There he handles cases ranging from investigations to defending civil and criminal litigation and developing legal-compliance programs.

Without a voting record to scrutinize, Republicans have attacked Crow for his work at the firm, namely his defense of white-collar criminals. There have been a number of television ads going after the Democrat for his legal work.

Crow’s campaign says he worked for those clients shortly after joining the firm, when he didn’t choose which cases he was placed on, and long before he became a partner last year. After his first few years at Holland & Hart, Crow began helping companies develop processes to handle instances of sexual  harassment and workplace discrimination.

Crow has also done pro bono work as an attorney and his campaign says to paint him as solely defending nefarious clients is unfair.

“At the end of the day, I’m pretty pumped to put my record of service to this country and community, from fighting to veterans to fighting for the substance abuse crisis to all the pro bono work I’ve done as a lawyer,” he said.

More on Crow’s background

Crow graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2002 and then the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2009.

Democrat Jason Crow (Provided photo)

He served as an Army infantry officer, including as a captain in the elite Army Rangers. He won a Bronze Star for his service during the 2003 Battle of Samawah in Iraq.

In 2006, Crow left the military and soon launched into his law studies and career. Crow’s campaign says that during the candidate’s third military deployment, he sensed that he was interested in law school when he returned to the U.S. and was thus studying for entrance exams from a remote outpost.

From 2009 to 2014 he also served on the Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs.

Something quirky

You might be surprised to learn that Crow is a hip-hop fan.

“I grew up a Wu-Tang guy,” Crow said.

Rising Sun

More reading on Crow

Democrat Jason Crow, 6th Congressional District candidate, leans on experience as a father and a veteranThe Denver Post, Oct. 4, 2018

A secret recording, a Bronze Star and “The Royal Tenenbaums” — the Democratic race to unseat Mike Coffman is flush with personality, politicsThe Denver Post, May 23, 2018

If Demographics Are Destiny, Why Can’t Democrats Win This Denver District?The New York Times, July 2, 2018

Democrats hope military veteran candidates can help party capture the HouseFox News, Sept. 12, 2018


    Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage....