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Jan Kulmann. (Handout)

Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann, a Republican, has jumped into the crowded 8th Congressional District primary.

“I’m an oil and gas engineer, a mayor and a mom,” Kulmann said in a written statement announcing her candidacy Tuesday morning. “Solving problems is what I do. But I also know, sometimes you’ve got to stand up and fight. America is so much better than what we have become. Now is the time to elect an outsider who gets results.”

State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer and Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine were already running in the Republican primary to represent the newly created district spanning from the northeast Denver suburbs up to Greeley.

The 8th District race may be one of the most competitive U.S. House contests in the nation next year. The outcome may determine which party controls Congress.

Democrats appear to have a slight advantage in the district.

Kulmann faced criticism last year for taking a taxpayer-funded trip to Washington to attend at White House event hosted by then-First Lady Melania Trump.

Kulmann, when she was Thornton’s mayor pro tem, was sued by anti-fracking activists whom she blocked on social media. The case was settled for $30,000 and she agreed to unblock the activists.

Before being elected mayor in 2019, Kulmann served on the Thornton city council. She also was on the board of a charter school.

In 2016, when she was a city councilmember, Kulmann survived a recall attempt launched by oil and gas industry critics.

Despite her background in politics, Kulmann is billing herself as “an outsider who gets results.”

MORE: A deep dive into the electorate in Colorado’s super competitive new 8th Congressional District

On the Democratic side of the race to represent the 8th District, the candidates so far are:

Humphrey entered the race last week. He has not held elected office before and described himself as a moderate. (Read more about Humphrey in The Unaffiliated newsletter.)

The Republican side of the race also includes:

  • Giuliana “Jewels” Gray, a wedding photographer
  • Ryan Gonzalez, whose LinkedIn profile says he is a banker

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....