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Colorado state Rep. Yadira Caraveo, D-Thornton, waits for the start of the session in the House chamber as lawmakers try to wrap up the 2020 calendar in the State Capitol Monday, June 15, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

State Rep. Yadira Caraveo secured the Democratic nomination in Colorado’s new 8th Congressional District on Tuesday, avoiding a costly primary and allowing her to build up campaign cash in what is gearing up to be one of the nation’s most competitive congressional races this year.

The Thornton lawmaker defeated Adams County Commissioner Chaz Tedesco with 71% of the delegate votes cast at the 8th District Democratic assembly, which was held virtually. Tedesco secured 29% of the delegate vote, just short of the 30% he needed to make the primary ballot. 

“I’m excited to continue building a winning coalition so that I can be a strong advocate for families and neighbors across Adams, Weld and Larimer counties in Congress next year,” Caraveo said in a written statement. 

The 8th District, created during last year’s once-in-a-decade redistricting process, stretches from the northern Denver suburbs in Adams County along U.S. 85 to Greeley. It’s a heavily Hispanic, toss-up district. 

At least four Republicans — Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine, state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann and Army veteran Tyler Allcorn — will vie for the nomination in the June 28 primary. A fifth GOP candidate, wedding photographer Jewels Gray, is waiting to hear from the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office if the petition signatures she turned in were sufficient to make the ballot.

The Democratic House Majority PAC has already reserved $4.4 million worth of TV ads aimed at winning in the 8th and 7th congressional districts in Colorado. 

Caraveo is a Thornton pediatrician raised by Mexican immigrant parents.

“If there’s one thing I want you to remember is that I learned the value of hard work,” Caraveo said at the assembly. “I watched my dad work construction every day to put all four of us through college.”

Through the end of 2021, Caraveo, who announced her candidacy in August, raised about $263,000. She had $179,000 in her campaign account to start the new year. Her campaign says it raised about $300,000 from January through March.

Sandra Fish has covered government and politics in Iowa, Florida, New Mexico and Colorado. She was a full-time journalism instructor at the University of Colorado for eight years, and her work as appeared on CPR, KUNC, The Washington Post, Roll...