Election 2018LegislatureNewsTop Story

Sias’ bid for lieutenant governor moves race for House seat to competitive

Author: Marianne Goodland - July 11, 2018 - Updated: July 26, 2018

State Rep. Lang Sias (File-Sias for Colorado)

Wednesday’s announcement that Colorado state Rep. Lang Sias of Arvada is Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton’s pick for running mate changes the dynamics of the House District 27 race that, until Wednesday, might not have been that competitive.

It is now.

Sias was appointed to his north Jefferson County seat in 2015 and won his first election in 2016. He was to face Democratic candidate Brianna Titone in November.

The district leans Republican but has more active unaffiliated voters than either Republicans or Democrats. According to June voting statistics from the Secretary of State’s office, the district has more than 23,000 unaffiliated voters; Republican active voters number 19,675; Democrats trail at 17,329.

If you look at how voters behaved in the recent primary, the race appears to have gotten a little tighter. In the primary that ended June 26, Titone received more Democratic votes than Sias received from Republican voters, 9,893 to 8,547; each candidate faced no opposition.

Titone has also outpaced Sias on fundraising in this election cycle, bringing in more than $21,000 in contributions. Sias had taken in just under $15,000 for his re-election bid, although he also had $9,500 left over from his 2016 campaign.

If elected, Titone would be the first transgender individual to serve in the state legislature. Among her top donors to date: Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder, who’s facing Stapleton in the race for the governor’s mansion in November.

But Jeffco GOP Chair Joe Webb told Colorado Politics Wednesday he believes whoever runs in Sias’ place will retain the seat for Republicans.

“We will hold HD 27 regardless of who is selected” because the district has a Republican makeup, he said. The district has always supported Sias and his predecessor, former state rep and now Jeffco Commissioner Libby Szabo, Webb said, adding that both Sias and Szabo will get behind whomever the ultimate candidate is for HD 27.

Sias won the 2016 election in one of the highest turnout races for the state House. He received 53.15 percent of the vote to Democratic opponent Wade Norris’ 40.50 percent. An unaffiliated candidate, Doug Miracle, took 6 percent of the vote. Total voter turnout was 81.86 percent, fourth highest among the 65 House races.

GOP party rules require the departing candidate send a notice of withdrawal to the party and also withdraw the candidacy with the secretary of state. Once that’s done, a vacancy committee in the district will send out a 10-day notice that there will be an election by the committee for the candidate. However, candidates also can be nominated at the vacancy committee meeting.

That process also will apply in El Paso County, where Republican Jillian Likness recently withdrew her candidacy for House District 18.

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland is the chief legislative reporter for Colorado Politics. She's covered the Colorado General Assembly for 20 years, starting off in 1998 with the Silver & Gold Record, the editorially-independent newspaper at CU that was shuttered in 2009. She also writes for six rural newspapers in northeastern Colorado. Marianne specializes in rural issues, agriculture, water and, during election season, campaign finance. In her free time (ha!) she lives in Lakewood with her husband, Jeff; a cantankerous Shih-Tzu named Sophie; and Gunther the cat. She is also an award-winning professional harpist.