Jun 22, 2022 - News

1-minute voter guide: Progressive candidate challenges incumbent Diana DeGette

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette speaking during a subcommittee hearing in 2014. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Voters in Colorado's blue-bent 1st Congressional District, which primarily covers Denver, will decide this month whether to stick with the status quo or head down a more progressive path.

State of play: Democrat Diana DeGette, the Colorado delegation's longest-serving member who is pursuing a 14th term, faces a primary challenge from first-time candidate Neal Walia.

  • Walia is a political organizer, son of Indian immigrants and self-proclaimed "grassroots progressive candidate." He says he will be a champion for Colorado's most vulnerable communities.
  • He is also an alumnus of the University of Colorado Boulder and CU Denver, and has worked for former Gov. John Hickenlooper.

What they're saying: "Our obligation is to be as loud and bold and transformational as we can," Walia told the CU Independent. "That's why I believe in Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, [and] major federal investments into housing and the homelessness crisis."

By the numbers: Walia's campaign contributions total about $188,000, Federal Election Commission data shows.

  • DeGette has brought in more than four times as much, roughly $800,000.

Catch up quick: DeGette, who has represented Denver in Washington since 1997, currently sits on the House Natural Resources Committee and chairs the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee for the Energy and Commerce Committee.

  • Her focus this past legislative session was improving people's health and protecting the environment.
  • She was also appointed to preside over the House during debate for former President Trump's first impeachment.

What's next: The winner will face Republican candidate Jennifer Qualteri in the general election in November.


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