Jun 8, 2024 - Election

1-minute voter guide: Tim Hernández and Cecelia Espenoza battle for House District 4

Illustration of a ballot being dropped into the Denver skyline.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Democratic Party insiders picked Tim Hernández to temporarily fill the House District 4 seat in West Denver when it became vacant last summer. Now voters will get to make their choice.

State of play: Hernández once again faces rival Cecelia Espenoza in the June primary election, which is open to registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters.

  • Hernández, a 27-year-old teacher and community organizer, is emphasizing his longtime roots in Denver's north side, while Espenoza is touting her years of experience as an immigration attorney and federal judge.

Zoom in: The candidates are most divided in their politics. Hernández aligns with the far-left progressives lawmakers in the House. He drew controversy early in his term for replacing the American flag on his desk with a Palestinian one amid Israel's war on Hamas.

  • His top concerns are education and Latino issues.

The other side: Espenoza lists the high cost of housing as her top issue. She wants to see more regulations on landlords and incentives to help first-time homebuyers.

Between the lines: Hernández is drawing endorsements from more than two dozen of his fellow lawmakers, but Espenoza has support from legislative leaders in the state Senate and other major interests at the Capitol, including the state chamber of commerce.

What they're saying: Hernández is leaning into his 10-months as a lawmaker, saying "I'm the only candidate in the race who passed a state law.

  • Espenoza, who is now retired, says her successful career and "history and knowledge of being a working class person" sets her apart.

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