Janak Joshi, a former GOP legislator, announced his candidacy for Colorado’s 8th Congressional District late last month. He told Colorado Politics he hopes to stand out as a “conservative leader” — and he seems to have already won over some prominent far-right activists.


“Janak Joshi has recently announced that he is going to be a candidate for the Republican nomination in CD-8, which is where we live, and I know I will be voting for you,” said Julie Hayden on her podcast “The Chuck & Julie Show.”

Joshi will compete with three other candidates — Gabe Evans, Scott James, and Joe Andujo — for the Republican Party’s nomination later this year. 

Joshi spoke at length to Hayden and her co-host Chuck Bonniwell, another longtime Republican activist, about his background and qualifications. He discussed his career path: after immigrating to the U.S. and completing his training as a doctor, he moved to Colorado.

“I moved to Colorado, where I practiced for 30 years in internal medicine and nephrology, which is a kidney disease. Retired in 2008, and I was enjoying life. And then the call came 2010, I jumped in, did my civic duty, got elected to the state House.”

Joshi’s statement that he “retired” leaves out the full truth on how his career as a physician actually ended. In 2006, Joshi received a letter of admonition from the State Board of Medical Examiners for failing to meet medical standards in his treatment of a 76-year-old patient. Following an assessment, it was recommended that Joshi retrain in a nephrology fellowship. After he did not do this, his medical license was suspended in 2007, until Joshi surrendered his license in 2008.

Despite this, Joshi falsely touted his qualifications as a physician throughout his political career. He continued doing this at multiple points in his interview with Chuck & Julie, using his former practice to advocate against abortion.

“As a physician, sanctity of life is very important to me,” Joshi said. “And also, I know that we all have to be safe and protect ourselves and our families and all that. So Second Amendment is very important to me too. So these have been my basic principles.”

All three of Joshi’s primary opponents support the overturn of Roe v. Wade, but say that abortion’s legality should be decided on a state-by-state basis. Joshi’s past stances on abortion are extreme compared to his competitors: during his time as a legislator, he introduced multiple bills to allow murder or assault charges to be brought against patients who receive abortions and doctors who perform them.

The “Issues” page on Joshi’s campaign website says that he is “100% Pro-Life.” Joshi did not respond to a request for comment on whether he would support a national abortion ban if elected. This story will be updated with any response received.

Joshi continued to refer to himself as a physician when expressing skepticism about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, which have been shown to be effective at reducing hospitalization and serious symptoms from COVID-19 infections.

“What was your opinion on the vaccine mandates?” Bonniwell asked.

“As a physician, I know some vaccines are important,” Joshi said. “They have been proven, like smallpox. I mean, we wiped out smallpox. … Measles, for example. We know that works. But something we had recently. It was never proven. I mean, it came out so quickly. And why, if the vaccine is working, tell me why they need immunity by the government.”

Joshi is most likely referring to a facet of the 2005 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, which allows the Department of Health and Human Services to block lawsuits against companies making or distributing critical medical supplies. In 2020, the HHS invoked PREP to provide legal protections against vaccine injury lawsuits to companies creating COVID vaccines. Vaccine injuries have occurred at extremely low rates.

Like his Republican primary opponents, Joshi continues to praise and support former president Donald Trump. During the interview, Joshi refused to say whether Trump’s loss in the 2020 election was fair or not.

“I’m kind of pragmatic. I always look at future and I don’t dwell on the past,” Joshi said. “So there is a lot of things that happened in the past. We have no control now. And I said if something happened, it happened in the past, but we have to move on.”

Bonniwell asked him directly, “What do you think of the 2020 election? Biden was fairly elected?”

“I could not tell you for sure,” Joshi said. “Number one, I wasn’t involved much at that time. Right. And number two is I’m saying that what happened happened. He is the president right now. I want to win the next election. I’m not worried about the past election.”

Joshi continued, “If it was [stolen], they were smarter than us. So why don’t we become smarter than them?”

Bonniwell countered, “But you have to. You have to figure out what they did exactly before.” To this, Joshi again falsely invoked his supposed expertise as a physician to imply that there may have been “mistakes” in the 2020 election. 

“That’s what I’m saying … I’m a doctor. How do we become better doctors? We learn from our mistakes,” he said. “That’s why they always say we are practicing. We are always practicing.”

Joshi is not the only candidate in CD-8 to cast doubt on the 2020 election without evidence. Andujo has said flat-out that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, whereas Evans responded to the question with a noncommittal “no-ish.” Only James clearly affirmed that the 2020 election was not stolen. 

If he is elected in November, Joshi’s far-right credentials would put him alongside the conservative firebrands of the Freedom Caucus, such as Lauren Boebert. But Joshi indicated that he was unsure if he would join the Freedom Caucus, and said that he did not fully know their stances and principles. 

“I would not mind [joining the Freedom Caucus],” Joshi said in the interview. “I have to really look at who they are and what their principles are like. As you know, on the Capitol here, I was a member of the Republican Study Committee of Colorado, which was something very similar.”

Whichever Republican wins the primary for CD-8 will go on to challenge incumbent Democrat Yadira Caraveo. CD-8 is considered a swing district, and experts believe that hardline conservative stances, such as staunch opposition to abortion, could be a liability to Republicans in the general election.