At a debate last night in Weld County, three Republicans vying to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Yadira Caraveo said they oppose Roe v. Wade and would vote for Donald Trump in Colorado’s upcoming presidential primary, with one of the three candidates saying the 2020 election was stolen from Trump and another hinting that it might have been.

Left to right on stage, Andujo, James, Evans.

The opposition to Roe by the three candidates, state Rep. Gabe Evans (R-Ft. Lupton), Weld County Commissioner Scott James, and Air Force veteran Joe Andujo is particularly noteworthy because abortion is widely seen as having played a key role in Caraveo’s 2022 victory in the northern Colorado congressional district (CD8) over Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmyer.

But despite opposing a woman’s constitutional right to have an abortion, all three candidates said they would not vote for a national abortion ban if elected to Congress, agreeing that the issue should be decided on a state-by-state basis.

“I believe that life begins at conception,” said James. “I also believe in the proper role of government. The pro-life movement fought for 50 years to overturn Roe v. Wade. When the Dobbs decision was handed down Roe v. Wade was overturned and it rightly handed one of the most contentious issues back to the governments that are closest to you. It belongs at the state Legislature. It belongs with the people.”

“We have to have the wisdom to come up with policies that best preserve life,” said Evans, saying he is 100% pro-life. “And I think that the Supreme Court rightly decided this case that it is now up to the legislatures and to the voters of Colorado to figure out how they are going to best protect life.”

“We need to stand for life. We need to stand for our most vulnerable. That’s the babies. But that’s also the women in these terrible life situations that I worked with for 10 years as a police officer. So I think this is up to the state legislatures, and I will always stand for life,” said Evans, who’s made similar comments previously on the campaign trail.

“I am pro-life, and I have always been pro-life,” said Andujo. “When the Supreme Court sent abortion back to the states, that’s where it should have been all along. As a congressman in the United States Congress, I will not deal with that. But I would not support anything to allow the Democrats or anybody to end the life of a child.”

During a lightning round of questions, all three candidates promised to vote for former President Donald Trump in Colorado’s presidential primary election.

Asked if they thought the 2020 election was “stolen from Donald Trump,” Andujo responded with “Yes,” James answered with a definitive “No,” and Evans said with “No ish.” Evans was not asked what the “ish” meant.

Only James agreed definitively with Trump that Obamacare should be repealed, answering “yes” when asked after the debate if he’d vote to repeal the national healthcare law and adding that the proper role of government is “fostering the free market not overseeing it.”

Andujo, who worked in the healthcare industry, said he has plans to get “health care to be more accessible” and for “health insurance to be affordable.”

“I don’t know how I would vote if there were a repeal vote,” he said.

Evans blamed “leftist policies” for the loss of a recent loss of insurers in Colorado, and said he’s intimately familiar with the healthcare system due to the health problems faced by his “medically complex” child.

“We know we have a problem,” said Evans, when asked after the debate if he’d vote to repeal Obamacare. “We have to fix the problem. So we have to take a long, hard look at this.”


All three candidates see action on immigration as a priority.

“The first thing we have to do is secure the border,” said Evans, who explained that “watching what the left is doing to my native state is why I’m into politics right now.”

“We must build more border wall, and we must increase funding for our folks who are doing the hard work of trying to keep the border safe, and we have to go back to working with Mexico instituting policies like the remain-in-Mexico policy,” he said.

James, who said he “fell into the radio business and fell into public service,” wants to secure the border using “military-grade security” measures, “identify those who are here already,” and fix the “broken immigration system.”

Asked what they would do with undocumented immigrants already in the country, none offered a clear answer.

“We must be pragmatic about the problem we have,” said James, adding that the country needs to “deal with the folks who are here.”

“The story of my family is the story of somebody who earned two Purple Hearts to earn his citizenship,” said Evans. “There’s folks that came to this country legally. And so if you’re in this country illegally, we want you to follow the law. We are a nation that is ruled by law. So you need to go stand on that line and do it the right way. Do it the legal way so that you’re not leapfrogging over those folks like my grandfather that did it the right way and did it the legal way. So we need to have that conversation identified. But we need to be a nation that’s ruled by law. Go take your place in line and do it the right way.”

Thursday night’s debate was moderated by Kelly Maher, 9News Political Expert, and Jesse Paul a reporter for The Colorado Sun. It took place at the Ft. Lupton Recreation Center and was hosted by the Republican Women of Weld and The Lincoln Club of Colorado. It was sponsored by Wells Ranch & 4x Industrial.

Colorado’s 8th Congressional District, located mostly north and west of Denver is expected to be the battleground for one of the most competitive U.S. House races in the country. Caraveo, a physician and child of Mexican immigrants, won the seat, which was created in Colorado after the 2020 U.S. Census, in 2022 by 1,632 votes. A Libertarian candidate in the race had 9,280 votes.