Jun 6, 2022 - News

What to watch in the 2022 primary election as Colorado mails ballots

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Colorado county clerks can begin mailing ballots to voters Monday for the June 28 primary election.

Why it matters: The arrival of mail ballots marks a turning point in the race as candidates amplify their campaign outreach and hit TV and radio airwaves with a final advertising blitz.

State of play: For now, most voters are paying little attention to the intra-party contests, but the races are crucial to each party's chances in the November election.

  • Much of the spotlight is on Republicans, who are nominating candidates to challenge incumbent Democrats for three major statewide races: U.S. Senate, governor and secretary of state.

What to watch: Here's our rundown of the themes and races to keep an eye on:

1. A fractured GOP: In each of the marquee races, more mainstream Republicans are facing far-right conservatives who align strongly with former President Trump and dispute the outcome of the 2020 election

  • How the races are decided will signal the current GOP mood in Colorado.
  • If the more far-right candidates get elected, it could make it increasingly difficult for the party to appeal to moderate voters and defeat Democrats in November.

2. Turnout: So far only diehard voters in both parties are interested in the race, meaning they could skew the contests toward the political edges.

  • But in Colorado, unaffiliated voters can choose to cast ballots in either the Republican or Democratic primary — not both. This group leans 60-40 toward Democrats, so if many vote it could change the outcome.

3. Trump: The former president is making endorsements in many GOP primary elections across the nation, but so far he's remained on the sidelines of the Colorado races.

  • If he backs a candidate, it could provide a much-needed boost like it has in Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states.

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