During a debate Saturday, state Rep. Gabe Evans (R-Ft. Lupton) and former state lawmaker Janak Joshi — the two Republican candidates in Colorado’s most competitive congressional district — both refused to say, categorically, that the 2020 election was not stolen from Trump. They’ll both vote for Trump, even in the wake of his conviction, and support renewing the Trump tax cuts that skew heavily toward rich people and large corporations. Both reiterated their support for the mass deportation of immigrants but they both added an exception for Dreamers, whom they’d allow to remain in America. Fox News is one of two go-to news sources for both, they said.

Evans and Joshi on tage at the “Republican Rumble”

As for disagreements aired at the debate, which was held at the Grizzly Rose north of Denver and organized by the Republican Women of Weld, Joshi opposes U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson and open primaries, while Evans supports both. Joshi would not take money from the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP), but Evans will continue to accept its donations. Evans opposes a national abortion ban and federal rescheduling of marijuana as a less dangerous drug, while Joshi supports those policy positions. Watch the entire debate, mc’d by radio host Mandy Connell, here.

On the 2020 election, Evans was asked directly if he’d decided “one way or the other” on whether the “election was stolen from Donald Trump.”

Evans responded that those “aren’t yes-no questions,” saying that the election could have been tainted because information about Hunter Biden’s laptop was concealed by “big tech” companies. Similarly, Joshi said there were “irregularities” and would not comment further.

Shortly before this article was published, Trump endorsed Evans over Joshi in the primary race.

Trump Vote Unaffected by Felony Convictions

“Donald Trump is the first president to be convicted of a felony in U.S. history,” debate co-moderator Ernest Luning told Joshi. “Will you still vote for him?”

Co-moderators Luning (left front) and Chris Roarke

“Yes,” Joshi replied, adding that the lawsuit was “frivolous.”

Evans replied with a simple “yes” to the same Trump question.

If Trump is elected, he will push for the renewal of his 2017 tax cuts and congressional approval of the Trump tax policy would have major national implications. Congressional budget experts say the tax cuts, which mostly benefited wealthy people and corportions, will drive the national debt up by $2 trillion, opening the door — according to progressive critics — for conservatives to cut entitlements like Social Security and Medicare.

Both candidates and the audience at the debate — called the “Republican Rumble” — were civil, even when the two men were given the chance to ask the other a question.

Joshi asked Evans why Evans accepted donations from Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a conservative group that spent millions opposing Trump in the GOP primary. Evans replied that he wants to build a “big tent” coalition.

Colorado’s 8th Congressional District is expected to be the battleground for one of the most competitive U.S. House races not just in Colorado but in the entire country.

The seat is currently occupied by Democrat Yadira Caraveo, who is the first member of Congress to represent the district, which was created in Colorado after the 2020 U.S. Census.

Updated June 3 with Trump’s endorsement of Evans.