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CD4 Debate in Colorado: Key Issues and Candidate Positions

By Raina Lucero

June 4, 2024

Six Republican candidates vying for the nomination in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District took part in a lively debate in Denver on Wednesday. This seat, vacated by former Rep. Ken Buck earlier this year, has attracted a diverse group of candidates including Rep. Lauren Boebert, who announced her switch to the district in December. The debate, hosted by CBS News Colorado and moderated by Shaun Boyd, showcased a mix of agreement and sharp disagreements on key issues.

The candidates displayed broad consensus on several critical issues. They uniformly expressed support for former President Donald Trump and shared hardline views on immigration and federal spending. All candidates agreed on the need to address undocumented immigration more aggressively, with Boebert calling for mass deportations and reiterating her slogan: “Build the wall, deport them all.”

On climate change, the candidates minimized the role of human activity. Boebert quipped, “Climate change occurs four times a year,” referring to the seasons, while others suggested environmental factors beyond human control as the primary cause.

A significant point of contention among the candidates was foreign policy. Though the question from moderator Boyd was only to be answered by show of hands as to who would support more funding to Ukraine Boebert was alone in opposing U.S. military aid to Ukraine, citing concerns over the lack of accountability for the nearly $200 billion already sent. Richard Holtorf also was able to sneak in a few extra words stating that funds should be well documented and accounted for and should even be paid back at a time that the Ukraine and Russia conflict is resolved.

Boebert also stood alone and opposed deploying troops to defend Taiwan if China were to invade, a stance not shared by her rivals. Holtorf once again took a few seconds to respond to the show of hands only question to state Taiwan is an important ally and should be protected in the event China were to invade.

Boebert’s opposition to foreign aid contrasted with her stance on Israel, which saw unanimous support among the candidates. She emphasized support for Israel’s Iron Dome but criticized tying this aid to humanitarian assistance for Gaza, which she claimed would fund Hamas. Deborah Flora criticized Boebert’s previous votes against aid packages for Israel, arguing for a more pragmatic approach.

While the candidates often closely align on most topics, the biggest differences between them lie in their personalities. Each candidate brings a distinct background and set of priorities to the debate, but it will take a bulldog mentality to beat the Democrats and create real change in Congress.

Each candidate brought a distinct background and set of priorities to the debate:

Lauren Boebert: Currently representing Colorado’s 3rd District, Boebert highlighted her congressional experience and Trump’s endorsement. She framed herself as a staunch conservative with a record of standing up for her principles.

Richard Holtorf: A state representative and cattle rancher, Holtorf touted his extensive military experience and conservative values. He emphasized his no-nonsense approach and his record as a determined advocate for his constituents. Holtorf called for unity among Republicans and focused on practical solutions to pressing issues, from immigration to federal spending.

Michael Lynch: The former Colorado House Minority Leader., Lynch expressed his frustration with Congress and emphasized action on immigration and fentanyl.

Deborah Flora: A parent, filmmaker, and radio host, Flora attacked Boebert for allegedly prioritizing media attention over her constituents. Flora emphasized immigration and the economy as her key issues.

Jerry Sonnenberg: A former state senator with deep roots in Colorado, Sonnenberg highlighted his legislative experience and leadership in opposing liberal policies.

Peter Yu: An executive with experience at Wyndham Worldwide and HSBC Bank, Yu focused on restoring trust in Congress and simplifying legal immigration processes.

As the primary election on June 25 approaches, the candidates continue to campaign vigorously. Boebert has a significant fundraising lead, with $3.4 million. This financial edge, coupled with her high profile, makes her a formidable contender in the race for the Republican nomination in CD4. However recent polls show her behind the likely Democrat candidate Ike McCorkle.

Whomever wins the primary election on June 25 will need to be locked and loaded to battle against whoever the Democratic candidate will be, likely Ike McCorkle. Deep state money will undoubtedly fund McCorkle’s campaign in an attempt to turn the deep red district blue. The Republican nominee will face a fierce general election fight, needing to rally strong support to maintain the district’s conservative representation.

The debate underscored both the unity and divisions within the Republican field, setting the stage for a contentious and closely watched primary election. Primary ballots will be in the mail the first week of June, it will be the voters of Colorado’s Congressional District 4 to decide who will lead the fight against the deep state opposition.

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