Democrats set primary between Jason Crow, Levi Tillemann in battleground 6th District

Author: Ernest Luning - April 14, 2018 - Updated: April 15, 2018

Democratic candidates in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District Levi Tillemann, left, and Jason Crow (Colorado Politics)

Two Democrats will face off in the June 26 primary for the chance to challenge Republican Mike Coffman in the suburban congressional district both sides agree could determine which party controls the House.

Delegates awarded spots on the primary ballot to Jason Crow, an attorney and Army combat veteran, and Levi Tillemann, a clean energy expert and author, at the 6th Congressional District Democratic assembly Thursday night in Aurora.

Crow took top-line, winning 261 votes, or 64.4 percent, over Tillemann’s 144 votes, or 35.6 percent. Candidates had to get at least 30 percent support to make it into the primary.

Coffman dodged a primary challenge of his own last weekend, when conservative activist Roger Edwards only managed to garner about 25 percent of the delegate vote at the district’s GOP assembly.

“I am honored by the overwhelming support that we received at assembly tonight,” Crow said in a statement issued by his campaign. “It’s clear that the 6th is ready for servant leadership and a candidate who will put people first. The grassroots support we’ve received over the last year is nothing short of humbling and we’ll be ready to retire Mike Coffman in the fall.”

Coffman has won the seat five times, including during the past two cycles when it’s been among the most hard-fought and expensive races in the country. Democrats are again targeting the swing district, which is nearly evenly divided between Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters.

For the first time this year, Colorado’s unaffiliated voters will be able to cast ballots in the primary election without having to register with either major party.

Tillemann told Colorado Politics he was anxious to ask voters to support campaign finance reform, universal health care and an “aggressive transition to a clean energy economy.”

“We are proud of our team, we are proud of our supporters, we are proud of our strong progressive message, and we look forward to a hard, honest fight in the primary,” Tillemann said in an interview.

Noting that his vote at assembly improved over the delegate share he’d won at county assemblies in March, Tillemann added, “The more voters hear about our campaign, the more excited and enthusiastic they are. Closing that gap to that extent and in the face of a lot of exogenous challenges really says something about the strength of our progressive message.”

Crow, who entered the race one year ago this week, has been hammering Coffman’s vote in favor of the massive tax reform bill passed by Republicans in December as well as the incumbent’s positions on gun control as that topic has seized national attention in the wake of mass shootings.

Earlier this week, Colorado Politics reported that Crow and Coffman each plan to report raising just over $460,000 for the fundraising quarter that ended March 31. At the end of the period, Coffman had $1.17 million in the bank, while Crow had just over $880,000. Tillemann hasn’t yet announced his most recent quarterly figures, but at the end of December, he reported about $130,000 on hand.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.