At a campaign stop Saturday, Colorado congressional candidate Gabe Evans touted his combat record as part of the reason people should vote for him, and he said the U.S. military is having a “hard time recruiting the next generation of warfighters” because it’s “too busy pushing a political agenda on people who should be actually training on, what are we going to do if we have to go toe-to-toe with the pier- or near-pier athletes.”


The alleged political agenda within the U.S. military has a “direct corollary” to the “intelligence community,” said Evans standing in front of a group of about a dozen people at the Don Juan Mexican restaurant in LaSalle, northeast of Denver, explaining that the “intelligence communities are doing the same thing where they’re getting sidetracked and they’re going in there hassling people on the basis of politics, not on the basis of protecting the United States.”

“Like you said, When you have the FBI hassling people over First Amendment-protected expressions of speech, that’s an issue that definitely needs to be reined in,” said Evans, a Republican who’s competing against former state lawmaker Janak Joshi in tomorrow’s GOP primary in Colorado’s most competitive congressional district.

Evans did not provide specific examples of the political agenda being pushed by the U.S. military or of the unwarranted harassment of citizens of by the FBI.

But Republicans have criticized the Pentagon for helping military personnel in states that ban the abortion gain access to the procedure. Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert went so far as to support Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-AL) campaign to block hundreds of military promotions to protest the Defense Department’s abortion policy.

Earlier this year Republicans in the U.S. House passed a defense bill cutting back on the ability of members of the military to obtain abortions. The failed effort also restricted access to transgender medical care.

With respect to lackluster military recruitment, low unemployment is a partial explanation for the dropoff, but other problems — including a generational shift in attitude toward military service, fitness and mental and physical health issues (smoking pot) among young Ameridans, military standards (even tattoos), and ineffective marketing — are also considered significant factors by experts. A recruitment campaign with the message that all types of people are welcome to sign up for the military drew criticism on social media from conservatives as being woke, but any data — beyond anecdotes — proving that a “political agenda” within the military itself is driving away potential enlistees, as alleged by Evans, could not be found.

“And when we’re focused on pushing all of this politically correct agenda on our military, and all the other stuff that we’re doing, we’re degrading our readiness, we’re degrading our operational ability to protect the United States and American interests in an increasingly globalized world, in an increasingly dangerous world,” Evans told the group at the restaurant.

Evans said his work at the state Legislature has showed him that Democrats pay “zero attention to good government” because they are intent on advancing their special interests — though he went on to cite bills that he advocated that made it through the Legislature and were signed by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat.

Evans Not Worried About Libertarian

In assessing his chances to win the seat, Evans said that “part of the reason” Democrat Yadira Caraveo won the race in 2022 over state lawmaker Barb Kirkmeyer was “the Libertarian” in the race. Caraveo won in 2022 by 1,632 votes. A Libertarian candidate in the race had 9,280 votes.

Evans explained why he thinks he’s the best Republican to face a Libertarian in the district.

“Traditionally, Libertarians get 3% of the vote or less,” said Evans. “Last cycle’s Libertarian got 4% of the vote. And we know that most of those votes would have gone to the Republican.”

Evans pointed out that the Libertarian who is running against him now also ran against him two years ago in his state House race.

“I kept him to 2.7% of the votes,” said Evans, a former police officer and concealed-carry gun instructor. “So we have direct head-to-head match up data of me against a Libertarian that shows that I can keep him below that 3% threshold where we still win this seat anyway.”

Colorado’s 8th Congressional District is expected to be the battleground for one of the most competitive U.S. House races in the country. The seat, which is located mostly north of Denver, was created after the 2020 U.S. Census.