The Libertarian Party of Colorado (LPCO) convened March 23 in Colorado Springs to elect a slate of 41 candidates for federal, state, and county offices.


The party will not run candidates in races where Republicans pledged to back Libertarian policies, according to LPCO Executive Director James Wiley.

“If GOP candidates would like to prevent a Libertarian from entering their race and potentially being a spoiler, preventing their election,” said Wiley, “they can sign a pledge that aligns with certain principles of the Libertarian Party.”

Libertarians are the third largest political party in Colorado, same as nationally, based on voter registrations.

“The Libertarian pledge,” said Wiley, “puts us in a position where we can actually defeat GOP candidates who don’t sign the pledge by entering those races and making it a three-way contest. We’re offering them a great opportunity to have an uncontested race.

“So far, only eight Republicans have taken us up on that, plus one from the Center Party.” 

The Republican pledge signers are Valdamar Archuleta, who’s running in Colorado’s 1st Congressional District (CD1); Robin Heid (CD3); Rebecca Keltie (State House District 16); Gwen Henderson (State House District 24); Nathan Butler (HD26); Carlos Barron (HD48); Dan Woog (HD63); and Lynette Peppler (Weld County Commissioner, District 3). Steve Yurash (CD2) is the Center Party candidate who’s signed the pledge.

Of special note is Robin Heid, a GOP primary candidate for the Western Slope’s 3rd Congressional District (CD3) seat, which Lauren Boebert is abandoning to run for the Eastern Plains’ 4th Congressional District (CD4) seat vacated by Republican Ken Buck.

As the Libertarian candidate for CD3, Wiley said that if Heid wins the GOP primary, “then I’ll withdraw my candidacy in the general election and let him run unopposed against the Democrat. If he loses the primary, then I’m compelled to continue my candidacy against whoever wins the primary because they failed to step up and adhere to our principles.”

Wiley was chosen at the LPCO convention over rival Libertarian Mark Elworth, who did not attend the gathering. Elworth recently told Colorado Public Radio that he no longer talks to the state Libertarian Party because “they’re like a quasi-pro-Republican party.”

Delegates vote a LPCO convention.

As a fellow conservative party, Wiley said, “GOP would be harmed the most if they don’t sign the pledge.”  He added, “We’re taking as a personal insult the behavior of figures like Lauren Boebert who came out against the pledge. That’s what compelled me to enter the race against her, scaring her out of the Third District into the Fourth District.”

LPCO State Chair Hannah Goodman is running for the Fourth District seat, said LPCO Campaign Director Jacob Luria, who led a candidate training in February. In the June 25 special election, Goodman faces official GOP nominee Greg Lopez, former mayor of Parker and a twice-failed primary candidate with a history of local to federal legal problems. Lopez has not signed the pledge.

“We feel the Libertarian Pledge is something conservative Republicans should be able to get behind,” said Luria. “If they are willing to play ball and sign onto the pledge, not as a fake promise but as something concrete we can show voters, then we will not run anyone against them, as in the Third District. I’m sure that’s at least one of the reasons why Lauren Boebert switched districts. Having a Libertarian in that tight Third District race meant less of a path to victory. So, she jumped to Ken Buck’s district, thinking it would be a lot safer for her, but from the looks of it, I’m not sure she’s even going to win the June 25 primary.”

Boebert recently gained a primary endorsement from former President Trump and is leading in a recent poll, but her victory is uncertain because 49 percent of the voters polled recently remain undecided.

Wiley predicted, “We’re going to ensure the end of Lauren Boebert’s political career this year.”

Libertarian Party of Colorado (LPCO) leadership ranks prominently among the eight congressional candidates selected at the state convention held according Robert Rules of Order (with frequent references to an old worn copy). Candidates and delegates were elected by a majority vote, not a plurality, of the 47 registered Libertarians at the convention. Each contest included a nomination for “None of the Above,” and NOTA garnered from zero to three votes each time.

Along with LPCO Director Wiley and Stat Chair Hannah Goodman in CD-4, LPCO Legislative Director Michael Vance is running in CD-5. Vance most likely will face Colorado Republican Party Chair Dave Williams, who won top-line on the GOP’s CD-5 primary ballot — as well as former KVOR radio host Jeff Crank, who petitioned onto the primary ballot.

“Williams originally was on board for the pledge,” Luria said, “but he’s really lost control of his party. so now he’s not going to sign it. That’s too bad for him because now we’re running Michael Vance. We set these conditions, and we need to follow through on our promises. I’m not clear how that’s going to play out.”    

Ultimately, Luria admitted, “The reality is that whoever wins the Republican primaries in CD-4 and CD-5 will probably be elected to Congress. Those are pretty safe Republican districts. But our plan is essentially to pull as many Republican votes as we can from GOP candidates who don’t sign the pledge.”

Other party leaders elected as candidates at the LPCO convention include LPCO Vice Chair Eliseo Gonzalez (Arapahoe County Commissioner District 5), Treasurer Allison Spink (State House District 40) Membership Director James William (State House District-25), and Database Manager David Aitken (State Senate District 31).

“I hope that can use the power of the swing vote to just continually crush them over and over and over,” said Eric Joss, the Libertarian candidate elected to run in Colorado’s 8th Congressional District (CD8), which is one of seven new U.S. House districts created after the 2020 census and one of the most competitive congressional seats in the country.

Hornberger at LCPO convention.

Joss will face the winner of the GOP primary, which features state Rep. Gabe Evans (R-Ft. Lupton) running against former state lawmaker Janak Joshi. The winner will face incumbent Democrat Yadira Caraveo, who won the seat in 2022 by 1,632 votes. A Libertarian candidate in the race had 9,280 votes.

“We did very well in the CD-8 race in 2022,” Luria said. “I know the Republicans blame us as spoilers for Kirkmeyer losing to Caraveo. But think both the Republican and Democrat were pretty poor candidates. This year, because none of the GOP candidates have signed the pledge, we chose at the convention Eric Joss, who’s run for state house before. We believe he can win.”      

The LPCO convention also elected 33 delegates plus alternates for the 2024 national convention, May 24 to 26 in Washington, D.C, where the Libertarian Party presidential candidate will be decided. Unlike Democrats and Republicans, Libertarians do not use primaries to select their presidential nominee in advance of the national convention.

Because that nomination is made by the elected state delegates at the Libertarian National Convention, several presidential hopefuls attended the LCPO convention.

The group gathered in the spacious upstairs meeting hall of the Colorado Springs Masonic Center. They ate lunch downstairs in the social hall, where four presidential hopefuls had literature tables with banners. Among them were Jacob Hornberger, a Libertarian activist lawyer, and Lars Mapstead, tech entrepreneur co-founder of FriendFinder. Mike ter Maat, an Austrian-School economist, who did not have a table, passed out campaign pens.

At the Chase Oliver table, a campaign staffer supported the grassroots Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate for Georgia in 2020 and 2022. A supporter of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. staffed a central table with large signage encouraging his nomination by the Libertarians in May.

The presidential hopefuls in attendance that evening spoke at a fundraising gala where the top auction item was a Sabre AR-15 rifle.

AR-15 auction item.

LPCO Candidates Chosen at the State Convention

U.S. House of Representatives

CD-2          Gaylon Kent

CD-3-        James Wiley

CD-4          Hannah Goodman

CD-5          Michael Vance

CD-6          John Kittleson

CD-7          Patrick Bohan

CD-8-        Eric Joss

Colorado State Senate Districts

SD-2          Caryn Ann Harlos

SD-6          Frederick Williams

SD-10        John Hjershman

SD-12        John Angle

SD-14        Jeff Brosius

SD-16-      Bennett Rutledge

SD-17        Ethan Augreen

SD-19        Ryan Van Gundy

SD-26        Kyle Furey

SD-29        Robert Harrison

Colorado State House Districts

HD-2         James Swanson

HD-3         Clayton Casciato

HD-7         Raymon Doane

HD-13       Richie Frangiosa

HD-18       Greg Lauer

HD-22       Daniel Schinsky

HD-23       Andrew Buchovich

HD-25       James William

HD-29       Marco Richie

HD-33       Tom Schutter

HD-34       Mason Bishop

HD-38       Brandon McDowell

HD-40       Allison Spink

HD-41       Keith Porter

HD-53       Christina Johnson

HD-61       Joseph Johnson

University of Colorado Regents

District 5     Janet Turner

County Commissioners

Arapahoe – District 1       Joshua Lallement

Arapahoe – District 5       Eliseo Gonzalez

El Paso – At Large            Sean Vadney

Freemont – District 3      Jason Beetem

Jefferson – District 1        Orion Schalhamer

CORRECTION: John Sutton is not running for HD-44 and Amy Lunde is not running for HD-56, as initially reported.