The race for the 6th Congressional District has become much less competitive for Democrats after redistricting, but both Democratic incumbent Rep. Jason Crow and GOP challenger Steve Monahan say they are not taking it as a done deal.
The newly drawn boundaries of the district encompass the urban areas in Arapahoe County and Adams County, including the entire city of Aurora. The district is among the state’s most racially and ethnically diverse, and Democrats have a significant advantage in the former swing district.
Whether looking at registration or performance, it’s not going to be as competitive as the old district was, said Mario Nicolais, an election law attorney and political strategist. Add to that how well known Monahan is and how much money the party spends to support him – both considerably less than when Mike Coffman was the GOP nominee – and it’s going to be an uphill battle, he said.
“These things tend to feed on each other,” Nicolais said. “When the numbers don’t look good, the money doesn’t follow.”
By his own admission, Monahan is not getting financial support from the party in the race. He calls himself a moderate Republican who thinks neither party is doing a good enough job and says he is not an election denier.
Like Crow, Monahan is a veteran. He decided to run for office because he said he “had to stop just stomping around my kitchen and complaining about it” and wanted to be able to tell his kids that he tried to make the world better. He first moved to Colorado in 2000, joined the Navy and returned to Colorado in 2019.
But the policy differences between the two candidates are stark. Crow, an Army veteran who is on the Armed Services Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Small Business Committee, has worked on legislation to expand immigration access and provide more oversight of immigration detention centers, and on legislation for gun violence prevention and reducing prescription drug costs.
Crow of Aurora said he first ran for office because of the “unique threats posed to our democracy” by Donald Trump, and he served as an impeachment manager during Trump’s first impeachment.
“I’m also just being a voice for what our values as a community in a state are, and pushing back against dangerous and extreme rhetoric,” he said. “I think what one of the things we’ve learned is that words matter a lot, and they matter when they come from the highest offices and people that hold titles. And when people speak words that can incite violence and extremism and anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and homophobia and other things, people get hurt.”
Crow is also working to expand abortion and health care access for military servicemembers, reform visa programs and tackle issues of supply chain redevelopment.
“… My policy positions are actually aligned with the community and the district overwhelmingly,” he said. “If you just look at the things that I support, and that I’m about whether it’s protecting abortion rights, acting on the climate, comprehensive immigration reform gun violence, prevention, access to health care … I support issues that the community supports.”
Monahan, who lives in the tech center area, doesn’t agree with Crow’s policy solutions. Among Monahan’s top issues are getting spending under control and figuring out how to pass a balanced budget, starting the global supply chain in the U.S. as a matter of national security and fixing what he calls the “faltering” economy. He doesn’t support federal abortion legislation and believes the decision should be left to the states, and he opposes transgender inclusion in women’s sports as well as “compulsory requirements by commanders, from everything from climate action to pronouns.”
He wants to secure the border and “empower Border Patrol” and has the endorsement of John Fabbricatore, retired Immigration and Customs Enforcement Denver field office director.
Monahan believes the district is ready for change, and unlike Crow who “is supported by and is representing his party,” Monahan said he promises to push back against both Democrats and Republicans.
“Hopefully, we can get a handle on inflation rather quickly,” he said, adding that that will be a multi-pronged approach. “We have to get the economy back on its feet.”
Libertarian candidate and Army veteran Eric Mulder is also seeking the seat in the November election.