DENVER (KDVR) — Third-party candidates didn’t win any state or federal offices in Colorado, but they may have kept others from winning.
Colorado has one of the nation’s highest shares of registered Libertarian Party voters, as of a 2021 compilation of voter data by Ballotpedia. This isn’t a high percentage. Currently, 1.08% of active registered voters in Colorado are Libertarians.
The Libertarian Party is just one of a smattering of other parties in Colorado. The others include the American Constitution Party, Approval Party, Green Party and Unity Party. While third-party registration is low overall in Colorado, Libertarian candidates were able to siphon enough votes from several races to have made up the gap between Democratic and Republican candidates. In each, Democratic candidates won.
This is especially clear in the Congressional District 8 race between Barbara Kirkmeyer and Yadira Caraveo.
Caraveo won the race in Colorado’s new congressional district. The district was expected to be a close race. It is Colorado’s most evenly split district between the two major parties and is the state’s most ethnically diverse and most heavily Hispanic district.
Caraveo won with 112,258 votes, which was a plurality at 48.4% of the state’s vote. Kirkmeyer only lost by about 1,700 votes.
Libertarian candidate Richard Ward only collected 9,095 votes in the district – more than enough to make up the difference between Kirkmeyer and Caraveo.
The federal race was only one example. Half a dozen state races were decided by a plurality of voters with Libertarian or other third-party candidates splitting the difference.
The new U.S. House District also elected a state board of education member, Democrat Rhonda Solis. Solis won over Republican Peggy Propst by 2,063 votes. American Constitution Party candidate James Treibert won twice as many, 5,248 votes.
Colorado House of Representatives races in districts 16, 25, and 50 were each decided by a plurality of voters. In each, the Democratic candidate won by fewer votes than the Libertarian candidate got.