A former U.S. Army officer and West Point graduate running for his first political office has won the June 28 Republican primary in Colorado’s Congressional District 7 (CD 7).
Erik Aadland, an Iraq/Afghanistan combat veteran awarded the Bronze Star for valor, edged economist Tim Reichert and 2016 Jefferson County Trump campaign chair and 2020 Republican National Convention delegate Laurel Imer to win the GOP nod in CD 7.
Aadland, who has worked as an oil and gas industry project manager for the last decade, will take on state Sen. Brittany Pettersen, a Democrat, in November’s general election.
Pettersen was unopposed in the Democratic primary after qualifying for the ballot through the assembly process. Political parties in Colorado conduct preliminary county, district, and state-level assemblies to designate primary candidates. Candidates can also petition for direct access to the primary ballot.
Pettersen was placed on the ballot in assembly votes, and no challenger petitioned to face off in a primary. Her nomination was assured when she garnered the endorsement of retiring Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.).
Perlmutter has represented CD 7 for 16 years, but post-2020 Census redistricting has made what had been a Democratic stronghold more competitive for Republican candidates.
The refashioned CD 7 no longer includes some Denver suburbs while adding rural mountain areas to the mix.
According to the Colorado Secretary of State Office, as of May 1, there are 142,996 registered Democrats, 128,404 registered Republicans, and 234,980 registered voters unaffiliated with any party in the new district.
Despite a D+6 rating, the number of independent voters makes the district “competitive,” according to FiveThirtyEight. The Cook Partisan Voting Index rates CD 7 “likely Democratic” but also “competitive.”
Those independents—44 percent of about 515,000 registered voters—will determine who wins in November, not only in CD 7 but in local, state, and congressional elections across Colorado, where 46 percent of the state’s 3.73 million voters are registered as unaffiliated with a party.
By John Haughey