Brittany Pettersen, a Democratic state senator who lives in Lakewood, will succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter in Colorado’s 7th Congressional District after defeating Republican Erik Aadland on Tuesday.
At 9.m., when The Associated Press called the race, Pettersen had 59% of the vote to Aadland’s 39%.
Pettersen campaigned for the seat on her legislative record over six years in the state House and four years in the state Senate, where she focused on health care and economic equity. She told The Colorado Sun that protecting voting rights and other measures to preserve democracy will be among her top priorities in Congress. Pettersen also said she’d vote for federal legislation to protect abortion access across the U.S.
“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude to the voters who supported me and believed in me to fight for them,” Pettersen told The Sun. “It’s an honor, it’s a big responsibility and I’m ready to do the work.”
She said even if Republicans take the majority in the House, “I have a proven track record of working across the aisle to solve problems building relationships, and understanding where people are coming from and trying to understand the issues where we actually really do have common ground and where we can work together.”
Aadland, an Army veteran and first-time candidate, focused his campaign on promises to curb government spending and boost oil and gas production. He has also said the 2020 presidential election was rigged.
In his concession speech at the DoubleTree Hotel in Greenwood Village Tuesday, Aadland wished Pettersen success, saying he does not hold a grudge, but pledged to hold her accountable.
“This movement that we’ve begun, well, it’s just begun, because we have built relationships. We have made an impact on Colorado and in District 7 that is going to continue to reverberate,” Aadland said. “We just need to continue to fight because we recognize the peril Colorado’s in and we recognize the peril this nation is.”
Aadland defeated two Republican challengers in the June primary, but failed to match Pettersen’s fundraising. She spent $2.4 million through Oct. 19, more than twice as much as Aadland spent during the primary and general election.
Democratic outside groups spent more than $1 million in the contest, including $682,000 by the House Majority PAC, a group working to elect Democrats to the U.S. House, on digital and TV advertising opposing Aadland.
Republican outside groups spent about $304,000 on the race.