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State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, a Republican running to represent the 8th Congressional District, speaks to supporters at an event at her campaign's headquarters in Thornton. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer announced Wednesday morning that she won’t run again next year in Colorado’s highly competitive 8th Congressional District.

She’s opting instead to seek another four-year term in the Colorado Senate, where she is a member of the powerful Joint Budget Committee. Kirmeyer said in a written statement that she believes she can best serve Colorado as a state senator.

“I appreciate the many supporters who have encouraged me to run again for Colorado’s 8th Congressional District,” Kirkmeyer said. “Being the 2022 Republican nominee for CD8 was the honor of a lifetime. My decision to instead run for reelection comes after careful consideration and deliberation.”

Weld County Commissioner Scott James, another Republican, filed on Wednesday midday to run in the 8th District after Kirkmeyer announced her decision. He is the first GOP candidate to announce an effort to dislodge Democratic U.S. Rep. Yadira Caraveo next year in the toss-up district that spans Denver’s northeast suburbs in Adams County along U.S. 85 into Weld County and Greeley.

National Republicans say the district is one of their top 2024 targets.

Caraveo beat Kirkmeyer by less than a percentage point, or roughly 1,600 votes, in 2022. 

While there’s still a year to go before Election Day 2024, Caraveo has built a sizable fundraising advantage over James and any other potential GOP challengers since she hasn’t had a Republican opponent until now. Congressional candidates must file to run before they can start raising money.

Yadira Caraveo talks to District 8 voters.
Then-state Rep. Yadira Caraveo, D-Thornton, makes a stop as part of her campaign to represent Colorado’s 8th Congressional District. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

A number of Republicans have been eyeing a run in the district, including state Rep. Gabe Evans, of Fort Lupton.

“CD8 is a very special place that deserves a bold voice and a committed, engaged representative,” Evans told The Sun on Tuesday. “As a Hispanic veteran, I’m definitely considering all options.”

Former Weld County Commissioner Steve Moreno and former state Rep. Dan Woog, of Erie, haven’t ruled out an 8th District bid, either.

The GOP primary in the 8th District will be held June 25.

UPDATE: This story was updated at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, to reflect that Weld County Commissioner Scott James has filed to run against Democratic U.S. Rep. Yadira Caraveo.

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....